Common Holiday Fire Hazards and Safety Tips

The holiday season has arrived, and with it comes decorations, cooking and a lot more safety hazards around the home. The good news is that a few simple, precautionary steps and an understanding of what are likely to be the biggest safety hazards will help you stay safe throughout the season.

If you’ve wondered what holiday causes the most fires or fire hazards, the Christmas season certainly ranks high up there, along with the Fourth of July.

Here’s a quick look at some of the hazards you’re most likely to encounter during the holiday season and how you can stay safe.

The Christmas tree

Christmas trees can pose risks, whether real or artificial. Real trees can dry out quickly and become a fire hazard. Artificial trees can also become fire hazards if they are placed too close to heat sources. You can avoid these safety issues by watering real trees regularly and by keeping any trees you put up at least 3 feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, furnaces and ovens.

Make sure any Christmas lights you use on your tree are plugged into power strips and do not get too hot when plugged into each other. Overloaded outlets around Christmas trees can turn into a big fire hazard.

Candles and decorations

Approximately half of holiday season fires happen when decorations are placed too close to heat sources. This is a problem you can easily avoid—just make sure you’re keeping decorations far enough away from fireplaces, space heaters and stoves.

Check all Christmas lights to make sure wires are not frayed. Only use lighting approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Make sure candles are never left unattended, especially if you have pets or children. Consider using flameless, battery-operated candles instead, if possible. If using real candles, make sure they’re away from flammable materials, and never leave them burning if you’re not in the immediate area.

Are door decorations a fire hazard? They could be. If you have a wreath that gets dried out, for example, it could be considered a hazard.


Cooking is a big part of the holiday season. The kitchen will become particularly active in many homes, and inattentive or distracted cooking can be a big potential hazard and cause of cooking fires. Do your best to keep the kitchen uncluttered, and keep kids out of the kitchen whenever possible. Be safe with heat sources, and keep flammable items away from them. Attempt to always use the back burners on the stove, and try to avoid placing too many items on counters.

Remember to never use extension cords for cooking appliances, as this could overload the circuit and potentially cause an electrical fire. Extension cords were not designed for these appliances. Only plug these items directly into wall outlets. Remove items you aren’t using to make space for them.

With a little bit of planning and attention, everyone can stay safe throughout the holiday season. For more information, contact us at AAA Fire Protection Resources, Inc.

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