Red Cross: How to prevent holiday decoration fires

Christmas decorations
Christmas decorations
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 11:58 AM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - This holiday season, the Red Cross of South Carolina is giving tips to prevent home fires from holiday decorations.

Most home fires involving candles happen in December, according to the Red Cross. One in five home decoration fires also occur in December.

“As more of us light candles to celebrate the holidays, we want to ensure everyone stays safe from home fires — the nation’s most frequent disaster,” said Rod Tolbert, CEO of the Red Cross of South Carolina. “Help protect your family by using battery-operated candles, testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing your two-minute escape plan with everyone in your household.”

Here’s a list of safety tips for holiday decorating:

  • If you must use candles, keep them away from anything that could burn, and place them out of reach from pets and children. Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Check all holiday light cords to ensure they aren’t frayed or broken. Don’t string too many strands of lights together — no more than three per extension cord.
  • Ensure outside decorations are for outdoor use and fasten lights securely to your home or trees. If using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated to avoid an electrocution or fire hazard.
  • If buying an artificial tree, look for the fire-resistant label. When putting it up, keep it away from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat. Never use electric lights on metallic trees.
  • If getting a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and keep it watered. To test if the tree is fresh, bend the needles up and down to make sure no needles fall off.
  • Don’t light the fireplace if hanging stockings or other decorations on the mantel.

If you need help and can’t afford to purchase smoke alarms or are physically unable to install one, the Red Cross said it may be able to help. Call your local Red Cross for help.

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