Holiday & Christmas Tree Safety
The winter holidays are a time for celebration, and that means more cooking, home decorating, entertaining, and an increased risk of fire due to heating equipment. Cosumnes Fire Department wants to ensure that you have a fire safe holiday season by providing you with the following safety tips.
Holiday Safety Tips:
- Avoid using lit candles. Consider using battery-operated flame-less candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles. If you do use lit candles, read more information about candle safety.
- Do not leave holiday lights on unattended. If you area leaving your home or office, turn your holiday lights off until you return.
- Do not overload electrical outlets. Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch.
- Don’t block exits. Ensure trees and other holiday decorations do not block an exit way.
- Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.
- Never put wrapping paper in the fireplace. This can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers that may result in a chimney fire.
- All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.
- Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
Christmas Tree Safety Tips:
- Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long and has probably dried out and is a fire hazard.
- Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2" from the base of the trunk.
- Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
- Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
- Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- When purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant.
- Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program.