Now that Thanksgiving has passed, many families are getting ready for the coming holiday seasons and putting up their annual decorations. But as youâ€™re hanging up your lights or festive displays, please be aware that decorations can potentially create a fire risk.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2013 and 2017, American fire departments responded to an average of 780 home fires each year that started with decorations. The NFPA adds that two out of every five decoration fires are caused by decorations being placed too close to a heat source, while one-third of the fires are started by candles.
The Illinois State Fire Marshal is offering a few tips to keep your holiday decorations safe:
- Be careful with holiday decorations. Make sure decorations are either flame retardant or flame resistant.
- Keep lit candles at least 12 inches away from decorations or anything that can catch fire.
- Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
- Extinguish all lit candles before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Check to make sure your lights are rated for indoor or outdoor use or both.
- Replace any light strands that have worn or broken cords. Make sure to read the recommendation for number of light strings you can string together.
- Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
- If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure to check water levels daily! It is not unusual for a tree to drink two gallons of water the first day it is in the stand.
- Keep real Christmas trees away from a heat source. It can dry out the tree quickly.
You can find more suggestions and information for the Illinois Fire Marshal here: https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/sfm/CurrentFocus/Pages/Winter-Holiday-Safety.aspx