Keep Safety in Mind When Decorating for the Holidays

The Mississippi Link Newswire
We know the holidays are upon us when all of the stores start pulling out the lights and black Friday/cyber Monday ads. Although this might seem overwhelming, a message that often isn’t as prevalent is fire prevention. Often people are so busy preparing for incoming family, feasts and gift buying that they do not prepare a home escape plan and ensure all smoke alarms in the home are in working order.
On average, one of every 31 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home fires. As an example of how quickly this can occur, check this video clip to see how something as simple as watering your Christmas tree can reduce your risk of a home fire:
Increasing awareness of fire prevention in Mississippi is especially important because:
  • According to the latest report from the National Fire Incident Reporting System, Mississippi was one of four states with the highest number of fire deaths per million population in 2014.
  • In 2014, the National Fire Incident Reporting System reported that Mississippi’s fire-related deaths were higher than the national average.
  • So far in 2016, the media has reported 25 home fire fatalities in Mississippi.
If your winter holiday tradition includes an artificial or real Christmas tree, you need to be aware of the fire risks. The public buys more than 28 million live Christmas trees every year.* If your tree catches on fire, the fire can spread very quickly.
When you’re decorating with live trees, make sure you keep the tree hydrated. A dry Christmas tree that comes in contact with a flame can catch on fire in fewer than 10 seconds and spread fire and smoke throughout the home.
A few tips to keep your holiday decorations bright and safe:
  • Choose the freshest cut tree you can find. Check to see if the needles stay intact when you gently pull on a branch.
  • After making a fresh cut and placing the tree in a stand, immediately fill the stand’s water basin and keep it filled with water until you take the tree out after the holidays. Place electrical cords and lights away from the water.
  • Choose holiday lights that have a testing laboratory label attached, such as UL, and throw away any frayed or damaged light strands.
  • Place the tree several feet away from heat registers, space heaters, and fireplaces.
  • If you decorate with lit candles, make sure they are at least three feet away from the tree and 12 inches away from other decorations and anything else that can burn.
Fire is everyone’s fight. Learn more about holiday fire safety on the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) website: Follow USFA on Twitter at @USfire and on Facebook at
* National Christmas Tree Association/Harris Interactive survey

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