Illinois State Fire Marshal stresses holiday safety

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information provided by the Illinois State Fire Marshal

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (December 11, 2019) – Holiday decorations can increase the risk for a home fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) more than two of every five home decoration fires occur due to decorations being placed too close to a heat source. More than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles.

“The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve,” says State Fire Marshal Matt Perez. “Before you head to bed or out for the evening, blow out all lit candles. Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.”

Other tips for the holiday season include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

After a busy cooking day on Thanksgiving, before preparing the next holiday meal make sure to clean the oven. In case of an oven fire, turn off the oven and keep the door closed until it is cool. Clean cook tops as leftover grease can catch fire. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, but Christmas and Christmas Eve follow closely behind.

If you are planning to host family and friends during the holidays, make sure they are aware of your fire escape plan. Show them where all the exits are in your home and make sure they are aware of the meeting spot’s location.