Prevention: It's the gift that keeps on giving
Between 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 860 home structure fires that began with holiday decorations and an additional 210 home structure fires that began with Christmas trees according to the National Fire Protection Association.
- Keeping decorations, or any other flammable items, at least 3 ft away from open flame and heat sources.
- Inspecting all decorations to ensure they do not have any frayed or pinched wires and discarding any worn decorations.
- Ensuring multiple extension cords are never strung together or run under rugs, carpets, or furniture and those used outdoors are labeled "for outdoor use."
- Never leaving cooking equipment unattended and turning off burners if you have to leave the room.
- Never leaving a space heater unattended and turning it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep, and not letting pets or children play too close to a space heater.
- Watering live Christmas trees daily and discarding trees when they are dry and begin dropping needles.
- Installing CO and smoke detectors on every level of your home, in every bedroom, and outside each sleeping area.
- Testing your CO and smoke detectors once a month and change the batteries yearly.