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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Holiday Fire TIps

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Holiday Fire TIps Be fire safe this holiday season!

Last year in 2018, SERVPRO of East Sacramento / West Arden-Arcade did an article on Holiday Kitchen Tips, which was very well loved and we highly recommend you to check it out. And while it was a comprehensive look on Holiday cooking, we decided to broaden our scope this year and offer some extra tips on candles and Christmas tree safety. Because while you might not know it, the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve, according to the National Fire Protection Association. These hallmarks of the holiday season with twinkling lights and brilliant evergreens that we love so much can quickly turn this festive time of year into a devastating one.

Holiday Cooking

Cooking fires are without a doubt the leading cause of US home fires and injuries year-round, Christmas Day is a particularly risky day for cooking with a 72% increase in the number of home cooking fires compared to a typical day. We already covered a good few tips you can check out here, but we just wanted to reiterate a couple for this holiday season.

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.

Learn more about Cooking Safety in your home here.

Christmas Trees

While Christmas tree fires aren’t super common, they are far more deadly than the average house fire. Lets get a couple of our facts straight:

  • One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one out of every 32 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 143 reported home fires.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every four (25%!) of the fires.

Christmas tree safety doesn’t need to be hard! It’s about being vigilant and careful while you celebrate the holidays. It is important to be fire smart. A small fire that spreads to a Christmas Tree can grow large very quickly.

  1. Picking the tree: Choose a tree with fresh green needles that do not fall off when touched. This assures that the tree will last the longest and it is dry.
  2. Placing the tree: Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.
    1. Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
    2. Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
    3. Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
  3. Lighting the tree: Use lights that have a label of a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
    1. 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.
    2. Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
    3. Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  4. After Christmas: Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry.
    1. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home, garage, or placed outside against the home.
    2. City of Sacramento residential yard waste customers can place trees in the street for pickup as part of the City’s Leaf Season service. Residents can find their estimated collection dates on the Sacramento Collection calendar.
    3. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.


December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. More than half (55 percent) of the December home decoration fires were started by candles, compared to one-third (32 percent) the remainder of the year.

Candle with Care

  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep candles at least 1 foot (30 centimetres) away from anything that can burn.

If you do burn candles, make sure that you...

  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
  • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.

Religious Candles

Lit candles are used in religious services, in places of worship, and in the home. Whether you are using one candle, or more than one on a candelabra, kinara, chanukiah or menorah, make sure you take a few moments to learn about using candles safely.

  • Handheld candles should not be passed from one person to another at any time.
  • When lighting candles at a candle lighting service, have the person with the unlit candle dip their candle into the flame of the lit candle.
  • Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire.
  • Candles placed on, or near tables, altars, or shrines, must be watched by an adult.
  • If a candle must burn continuously, be sure it is enclosed in a glass container and placed in a sink, on a metal tray, or in a deep basin filled with water.

Holiday Decorations

Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. But that also means a greater risk for fire. There are string lights, too many extension cords, and electrical hazards amok! Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season.

  • 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. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
  • Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed

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