Shorter days and colder temperatures mean we use all sorts of additional heating sources including fireplaces, electric space heaters, wood-burning stoves, and more. Add holiday cooking, decorations and extra extension cords to the mix and you’ve just drastically increased your risk of fire.

Here’s a checklist of simple things you can do to stay safe and happy this holiday season.

  • There’s nothing quite like the scent of a live Christmas tree. If that’s your preference, make sure it’s fresh, with green and intact needles. An old, dried out tree is a fire hazard that can fill a room with flames in less than 30 seconds.
  • Don’t put your tree close to a fireplace or heat vent that can dry out the tree quickly.
  • Check the stand regularly and keep it filled with water. It’s nearly impossible to burn a well-watered tree.
  • If you prefer an artificial tree, be sure it has a “fire-resistant” label.
  • Replace any holiday lights that have frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in insulation, etc.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets – ever.
  • Never leave holiday lights on unattended.
  • Never run extension cords under rugs or blankets.
  • Never leave space heaters or other heating sources unattended.
  • Plug electric heaters and cooking appliances directly into outlets; they draw a huge amount of electricity and can overload extension cords quickly.
  • Believe it or not, cooking is the number one cause of holiday fires. Don’t leave cooking appliances unattended.
  • Keep a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen and near heating sources or fire hazards.
  • Use only nonflammable decorations and place them away from heat vents.
  • Use battery-operated candles instead of lit candles, and never put lit candles on a tree.
  • Keep flashlights with fresh batteries on hand in case your power goes out – lit candles always increase the risk of fire.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms always have fresh batteries.

Fires can and do happen around the holidays, unfortunately. Following this checklist can help minimize your risk, but if the unthinkable happens you count on Disaster One’s fire damage restoration team to restore your home or business to its pre-loss condition. We’re here to restore your future.

Do you have other holiday safety tips? Share them with us.