It’s time to deck your halls and the American Red Cross has steps to help you decorate safely.
Candles are very popular, especially around the holidays. But candles also increase the risk of fire. Their popularity leads to nearly three times as many candle fires on Christmas Day, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
If you are burning candles, place them on a sturdy surface where they can’t be easily knocked over. Also, place them far away from flammable items such as decorations and greenery. Monitor candles closely and remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to sleep.
The Red Cross offers these additional steps you can take to decorate your home safely:
- Check all holiday light cords to ensure they aren’t frayed or broken. Don’t string too many strands of lights together — no more than three per extension cord.
- Turn off all holiday lights and decorations when going to bed or leaving the house.
- Ensure outside decorations are for outdoor use and fasten lights securely to your home or trees. If using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated to avoid an electrocution or fire hazard.
- If buying an artificial tree, look for the fire-resistant label. When putting it up, keep it away from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat. Never use electric lights on metallic trees.
- If getting a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and keep it watered. To test if the tree is fresh, bend the needles up and down to make sure no needles fall off.
- Don’t light the fireplace if hanging stockings or other decorations on the mantel.
- Check the labels of older decorations. Some older tinsel is lead-based. If using angel hair, wear gloves to avoid irritation. Avoid breathing in artificial snow.
- If using a ladder, be extra careful. Make sure to have good, stable placement and wear shoes that allow for good traction.
Red Cross Home Fire Response
American Red Cross volunteers responded to 12 home fires in Chicago, Wheeling, Round Lake Beach, and Markham in the past week and provided assistance to 84 individuals, including 41 children, through supplying them with basic items to meet immediate needs after a fire, and additional support in the form of health and mental health services and one-on-one support.
If you or someone you know needs assistance after a home fire or local disaster, please call our dispatch line: (877) 597-0747.
Home fires are the most frequent disaster and claim seven lives every day in the U.S. Working smoke alarms can cut the risk of death in a home fire by 50 percent.
Download the free Red Cross Emergency app for detailed home fire prevention and safety tips. Visit redcross.org/apps or search “American Red Cross” in app stores to download the app, which is compatible with Apple Watch and Android wearable devices.
Volunteer with the Red Cross
Volunteers make up 90 percent of the Red Cross workforce. If you would like to help people affected by home fires and other disasters, please visit redcross.org/volunteer to sign up as a disaster volunteer.
About the American Red Cross of Illinois
The American Red Cross of Illinois serves 12.4 million people in 88 counties in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri including Adams, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cook, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, De Witt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Green, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jasper, Jefferson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Rock Island, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermillion, Warren, Washington, Whiteside, Will, Williamson Winnebago, Woodford. Iowa: Lee, Muscatine, Scott and Van Buren. Missouri: Clark, Lewis, Marion and Ralls. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit us at Redcross.org/Illinois or visit us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @RedCrossIL.