Holiday Safety Tips

It's important to know the fire safety basics of candles, cooking, and fireplace safety at any time of year – learn more about this on the Fire Safety & Prevention page.candles

But festive celebrations, flickering lights, and winter greens bring additional fire risks that can quickly turn this festive time of year into a devastating one. We have some safety tips to ensure a happy and safe holiday season.

Christmas Trees

Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in almost half of home Christmas tree fires. Nearly one in five Christmas tree fires were started by decorative lights.

  • Before buying a tree, test it for freshness by tapping the base of the tree on the ground or pulling lightly on a limb. If many needles drop or can easily be pulled off, the tree is too dry and you should choose a different one.
  • Keep your tree as fresh as possible by placing it outdoors with the stump in a bucket of water until you're ready to bring it inside and decorate.
  • Before setting up the tree inside the house, trim two inches off the stem diagonally so it can absorb water.
  • Choose a suitable location for your tree, ensuring that it's located at least three feet away from heating sources, and is clear of all exits.
  • Mount the tree securely in a large, wide-based reservoir stand and add water daily to ensure the tree is well-watered. A dry tree is a dangerous tree - watch in this video.
  • Never use real candles to decorate a Christmas tree.

Holiday Lights & Decorations

More than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles.

  • Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Choose decorations that are flame-resistant or retardant.
  • Replace any strings of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Consider replacing older strings of lights with LED lights which could reduce your holiday lighting energy use by up to 90%.  
  • Use clips - not nails! - to hang lights so the cords don't get damaged.
  • Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Keep decorations away from doors and windows.

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