Four Holiday Season Fire Safety Tips – An Insurance Perspective

Published On: December 15th, 2017Categories: Personal Insurance

For many of us, the holiday season is a time for laughter and celebration with family and friends.  It can also be a time where our décor and decorations can lead to minor mishaps or worse.  Here are four safety tips to keep your family safe and sound.

Christmas tree fires

Keep your tree at least 3 feet away from any heat sources (fireplaces, radiators, heat vents).  Real trees need extra precaution.  The dryer the tree… the bigger the fire.

Having a stand with a water reservoir is key, but remembering to keep the reservoir filled is even more important.  Try putting a reminder in your digital calendar to prompt you to check water levels.

To see how quick a Christmas tree fire can get out of hand Global News recorded a live burn demonstration of a Christmas tree that was too close to a heat source.

Candle related fires

Did you know December is the peak month for candle-related fires?  To mitigate the risk, keep candles at least a foot away from other objects in your house.  Trim the wick down to a quarter-inch and – as a rule of thumb – only burn a candle for as many hours as the candle is wide (so a 4-inch candle should only burn for 4 hours at a time).

Burning other materials besides wood in your fireplace

During the holiday season, many people who own wood-burning fireplaces find it easy to throw wrapping paper and dry tree needles in the fireplace.

Dry tree needles burn very quickly and can create sparks that can pop out of the fireplace and although not an additional fire risk, wrapping paper can contain metallic materials that once burned, can be harmful if inhaled.

Christmas lights and fire

Are Christmas lights a real fire hazard? As seen on the television show Mythbusters, Jamie and Adam busted the myth that Christmas tree lights cause house fires.

So why is this still a concern? Well, that is because of how we can get a little carried away with how we use Christmas lights – think the Griswold house in the movie Christmas Vacation.

The risk starts to increase when there are multiple extension cords hooking together string-after-string of lights.  Keep it at 3 strings of lights per extension cord and avoid plugging extension cords together.

As insurance professionals, we have a safety-first lens on everything.  We know that a fire that is not put out quickly enough can lead to spending the holidays and beyond living out of a hotel room while you wait for your home to be fixed.

Keep safe this holiday season and enjoy your time with your family and friends.

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