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News Review
Holiday Safety
Posted Date: 12/7/2012 3:00 PM


For many the Christmas tree is the centerpiece of the home over the holidays. Here are some tips to ensure you tree, whether fresh or artificial, is fire safe throughout the festive season:

  • Before buying your Christmas tree, test it for freshness by tapping the base of the tree on the ground. If needles fall or can be pulled off easily the tree is too dry.
  • At home, find a cool spot for your tree, at least three feet away from any heat source, including registers and fire places.
  • Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water daily.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree, and place them well away from tree branches.
  • Choose a sturdy tree stand designed to not tip over.
  • When purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labelled as fire retardant.
  • When decorating trees, always use safe tree lights. Never use electric lights on a metal tree.
  • Always unplug Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to sleep.
  • Safely dispose of the tree when it begins to drop needles. Dried-out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in a house or garage, or placed against the house.

To download and print tips (PDF file) from the National Fire Prevention Association, please click here.


Ensure lights, candles and Christmas presents are fire safe by following these important steps:

  • Decorate with flame-resistant, flame-retardant or non-combustible materials.
  • Christmas wrapping and decorations can be highly combustible and should be kept away from heat sources.
  • Discard gift wrap and boxes with the garbage or recycle where appropriate; do not burn them in the fireplace.
  • Purchase only lights and electrical decorations bearing the name of an independent testing lab, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and maintenance.
  • Carefully inspect new and previously used light strings and replace damaged items before plugging lights in.
  • Do no overload extension cords.
  • Keep candles away from decorations and other combustible materials.
  • Use sturdy, safe candleholders.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Store matches and lighters up high, out of the reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet.

To download and print tips (PDF file) from the National Fire Prevention Association, please click here.


Even when entertaining, these helpful tips can ensure your holidays remain fire safe:

  • Unattended cooking is a leading cause of home fires.
  • When cooking remember to keep an eye on the range.
  • Provide plenty of large, deep ashtrays and check them frequently.
  • Cigarette butts can smoulder in the trash and cause a fire, so completely douse cigarette butts with water before discarding.
  • Test your smoke alarms and let guests know what your fire escape plan is