While the winter months are the leading time of year for home fires, NFPA says the post-holiday season presents its own set of fire hazards. Dried out Christmas trees and holiday lighting are among the leading culprits.
As time goes by, Christmas trees continue to dry out and become increasingly flammable. For trees decorated with holiday lights, the risk increases because they’re in direct contact with an electrical source.
Dried trees should not be kept in the home, garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
To reduce the risk of holiday light fires and keep equipment in good condition for next year, follow these storage suggestions:
- To unplug electric decorations, use the gripping area provided on the plugs. Never pull the cord to unplug a device from electrical outlets. Doing so can harm the cord’s wire and insulation and even lead to an electrical shock or fire.
- As you’re putting away electrical light strings, take time to inspect each for damage. Throw out light sets if they have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires.
- Do not place a damaged set of lights back into the storage box for next year’s use.
- Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags, or wrap the lights around a piece of cardboard.
- Store electrical decorations in a dry place where they cannot be damaged by water or dampness. Also, keep them away from children and pets.
NFPA and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) have teamed up again to remind everyone about ways to keep warm and safe throughout the winter months. Their joint safety campaign, “Put a Freeze on Winter Fires,” includes a wealth of heating, cooking and holiday fire safety tips.