Shem Corner: Holiday Fire Safety Tips



            With the holidays approaching, one of the best gifts you can give your family is a safe home in which to enjoy the season. The holidays are a time for celebration, and that means more cooking, home decorating, entertaining, and an increased risk of fire. There are simple life-saving steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday. By following some of the outlined precautionary tips, individuals can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty.


  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, boiling, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that the stove or oven is on.
  • Keep kids away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of three feet around the stove.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top and oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
  • After your Thanksgiving guests leave, ask a family member to perform a home safety check to ensure that all candles and smoking materials are extinguished.


Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy.

  • Pick a “safe” tree. If you’re buying a cut tree for Christmas, check for freshness. A fresh tree has a good green color and needles that are hard to pull from the branches and do not break. Shedding, brittle needles and a faded green color are signs of a dry tree. Keep your tree fresh by placing it in a stand that holds water. Check the water level every day.
  • Choose “Fire Resistant”-labeled artificial trees and decorations. This does NOT mean these items won’t catch fire—it does mean that they should resist burning and extinguish fairly quickly in the event of fire.
  • Pick a safe place for your tree.  Keep your tree out of traffic areas and away from doorways— exits should always be clear. Also, make sure there’s a “safety zone” all around your tree—at least 3 feet away from heat sources (candles included).
  • Don’t overload circuits. With the extra lights and holiday decorations, don’t be tempted to plug too many items into your outlets. Electrical overloads are among the most common causes of fires in the home. Unplug items that aren’t in use, and never ignore a tripped fuse.
  • Before those lights go up: Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Don’t forget to check your extension cords, Throw out any damaged lights or cords.
  • Never run extension cords through doorways, under rugs, or through any high-traffic areas. This can damage the insulation and wire inside, causing a fire hazard.
  • Always disconnect all decorative lights before you go to bed or leave the house. Lights can short out and cause a fire.
  • Don’t hang light strings in any way that might damage the cord’s insulation. Never use nails or tacks. Use only insulated staples to hold strands in place, or run the strings through hooks.
  • Be careful with candles! Always display candles safely by keeping them in stable, non-flammable holders. Keep them away from things that will burn, such as other decorations or curtains— away from children and pets.

            Finally, please Test the smoke detectors installed in your residence.

For more see OBOfire website http://obo.m.state.sbu/ops/fir/default.aspx.