Holiday decorating safety tips

Regional News

The White House decked out for Christmas. The theme is ‘The Spirit of America.’ (Dec. 2, 2019)

WABASH VALLEY (WTWO/WAWV) — Hanging up holiday decorations can be fun, but keep in mind, holiday decorations can increase your risk for a home fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA,) more than two of every five home decoration fires occur due to decorations being placed too close to a heat source, and more than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles.

The NFPA also reports that U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 780 home structure fires per year that began with decorations between 2013-2017.

More than half of home decoration fires in December are started by candles. Candle fires peak in December, followed closely by January. The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve. Before heading to bed or out for the evening, extinguish all lit candles.

Here are other tips provided by Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal Matt Perez to stay fire safe when decking the halls this holiday season.

• Be careful with holiday decorations. Make sure decorations are either flame retardant or flame resistant.
• Keep lit candles at least 12 inches away from decorations or anything that can catch fire.
• Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
• Extinguish all lit candles before going to bed or leaving the house.
• Check to make sure lights are rated for indoor or outdoor use or both.
• Replace any light strands that have worn or broken cords. Make sure to read the recommendation for number of light strings that can be strung together.
• Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
• Those with real Christmas trees should check water levels daily. It is not unusual for a tree to drink two gallons of water the first day it is in the stand.
• Keep real Christmas trees away from a heat source. It can dry out the tree quickly.

After a busy cooking day on Thanksgiving, before firing the oven back up preparing the next holiday meal, make sure to clean it. In case of an oven fire, turn off the oven and keep the door closed until it is cool. Clean cook tops as leftover grease can catch fire. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, but Christmas and Christmas Eve follow closely behind.

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