Make your holiday safety list and check it twice!
NEW YORK (Dec. 16, 2020) – The holiday season is here. Across the state, New Yorkers have been hanging their lights, decorating their homes, breaking out the holiday candles and setting up the Christmas tree. The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) would like to remind everyone of a few safety tips to have an enjoyable and safe holiday season.
“The holiday season is a very special time of the year,” said FASNY President John P. Farrell. “Unfortunately, we see more fires happen during the holidays. Watering your Christmas tree, checking your smoke alarms, being mindful of candles and following cooking safety are all simple and easy actions everyone can take.”
The leading causes of fires during winter months can be traced to winter storms, heating systems, holiday decorations and candles. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to an average 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year and an average of 7,900 home fires started by candles. In addition, fire departments responded to an average of 780 home fires that began with holiday decorations.
New York state is currently third in the nation in home fire deaths, with 101 this year, ahead of a busy season for home fires.
“We hope that everyone has a great holiday and a happy New Year— if anything does go wrong, rest assured that volunteers across the state will be here to respond,” Farrell said.
Holiday decorating tips from FASNY and the National Fire Protection Association:
- Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
- Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
- Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
- Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
Fire safety tips for your Christmas tree
- Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire, so look for a tree with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t break easily from its branches. The tree shouldn’t shed its needles readily.
- Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.
- Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested in a lab by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety, and throw out any damaged lights.
- Any lights you use outdoors must be labeled suitable for exterior placement, and be sure to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle.
- Keep all your holiday candles away from your Christmas tree, surrounding furniture and décor.
- Don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree lights off each night.
(Firemen’s Association of the State of New York)