Fire Prevention Tips for Holiday Safety

  • December 09, 2019

The holidays are a festive time eagerly anticipated throughout the year. Many homes are decked out in candles, lights, and lovely smelling trees. It’s a welcome respite and a season to gather with loved ones.

What isn’t welcome but sometimes shows up anyway is home fires. The holidays are peak fire season. From overloaded breakers to dry trees, learning the most common risk factors is essential for protecting a senior loved one’s home and yours.

Tips for Preventing Fires during the Holidays

1. Be careful with lights and greens.

While Christmas tree fires are rare, they are destructive. In less than thirty seconds a Christmas tree fire can engulf an entire room. Here are a few safety tips for decorating with trees and other greenery:

  • Display them a safe distance from open flames, such as candles, fireplaces, and stoves.
  • If you choose a real tree or garlands, make sure they are not dried out. See how fresh they are by shaking them and watching how many needles fall off.
  • Keep your tree and greenery watered. A spray bottle can make it easier to water garland.
  • Monitor the tree’s health and recycle it when it begins to show signs of drying out.

2. Use caution with holiday lights.

Lights are a staple for decking the halls. When used improperly, however, they create a fire hazard. A few safety precautions to keep in mind are:

  • Purchase lights tested by Underwriters Laboratories.
  • Dispose of lights when cords begin to fray or look worn.
  • Check instructions to see how many strands can be safely connected.
  • Use extension cords sparingly to avoid overloading a circuit.
  • Be sure to use indoor lights inside and outdoor lights outside.
  • Turn all lights off before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Hang lights with plastic clips; nails can damage lights, creating a fire risk.

3. Stay safe burning candles.

Candles are a popular part of winter festivities. Fire safety experts say this is when home fires caused by candles spike. That doesn’t mean you have to skip them, but you should exercise caution.

  • Don’t place candles near flammable household items such as curtains, towels, magazines, and other décor. Experts say you need at least one foot of clearance.
  • Burn candles only when you will be home and awake to monitor them.
  • If an adult in your household has Alzheimer’s, flameless candles may be a safer solution.

Seniors and Fire Safety

The holidays aren’t the only time older adults are at risk for injury in a fire. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, seniors account for just fifteen percent of the population in this country but forty percent of all fire deaths. These five fire safety tips can help you identify and eliminate potential issues in and around a senior loved one’s home.

At Five Star Senior Living communities, our standard safety features include fire suppression systems. Call the community nearest you to learn more.


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