Despite New Circumstances Caused by COVID19 the Key to Holiday Fire Safety is Consistent Action

The holiday season is well on its way, meaning more at-home festivities and cooking due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other than holiday cheer, this time of year also brings an increase in home structure fires, with Thanksgiving and Christmas consistently being the peak days for cooking fires. Also, nearly three times as many fires caused by candles are reported on Christmas than the daily average.

New statistics highlight the need for added vigilance around cooking, candle use, Christmas trees, and other risks common to holiday festivities. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen news accounts and anecdotal information about higher rates of home fires as more people spend time at home. Use this Cooking Safety tip sheet to easily review kitchen safety.

Keep these important notes in mind to help keep everyone safe during this time of family, food, and giving thanks:

  • 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.

  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.

  • Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.

  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.

We have seen immense creativity in how people celebrate while remaining safe, and these basic, preventative measures will help lower the risk of fire as you deck the halls. But in the event of an emergency, ensure that all heaters and electrical equipment are in good condition before use, and that all smoke alarms and home fire sprinklers are in good, working order. For resources on Christmas tree safety and more, visit the NFPA Winter Holidays page.

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James Monahan
James Monahan
Public Affairs Intern

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