Tips: Holiday Fire Safety

Between December 24 and December 26, deaths, injuries and dollar losses caused by fires increase an average of 50 percent, 61 percent and 43 percent, respectively, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Texas Mutual Insurance Company offers tips to reduce the chances of fire during the holidays.

Holiday lights:

  • Do not overload electrical circuits. Follow manufacturer guidelines for the number of light strands connected to each other. Do not use multiple-plug adapters to increase the number of items you can connect to a standard electrical outlet.
  • Inspect all electrical items before you use them. On light strands, look for broken or cracked light sockets, frayed or bare wires and loose connections. Make sure the ground prong on three-prong plugs is in place.
  • If you use electrical cords or lights outside, make sure they are rated for outdoor use.


  • Make sure live trees are fresh, with no brown needles or dry limbs. Give them plenty of water.
  • Spray live trees with a fire retardant. Tree vendors and local home improvement stores usually carry fire-retardant spray.
  • Check the box and the safety tag on artificial trees to make sure they are flame-resistant. Do not place light strands on metallic trees.
  • Do not place trees near fireplaces, furnaces, candles or other sources of heat. Also, avoid placing trees near room exits. If the tree catches on fire, you may not be able to get out.

Open flames:

  • Place candles in holders that will not tip over, and keep them away from drapes, trees and other flammable objects.
  • Put candles out before you leave home or go to bed.
  • Have a professional chimney sweep inspect your fireplace annually, before you use it.
  • Light fires with kindling and wooden matches only. Do not use flammable liquids.
  • Always use a fireplace screen.
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