Illinois State Fire Marshal Stresses Fire Safety During the Holiday Season
By Member Paul Mackin
December 7, 2021

Springfield, Ill – Many will be decking the halls to celebrate this holiday season. According to the
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) more than two of every five home decoration fires
occur due to decorations being placed too close to a heat source. More than one-third of home
decoration fires are started by candles. The NFPA also reports that US fire departments
responded to an average of 780 home structure fires per year that began with decorations
between 2013-2017.

Here are some tips to keep in mind to stay fire safe when decking the halls this holiday season.

• Be careful with holiday decorations. Make sure decorations are either flame retardant or flame resistant.
• Keep lit candles at least 12 inches away from decorations or anything that can catch fire.
• Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
• Extinguish all lit candles before going to bed or leaving the house.
• Check to make sure your lights are rated for indoor or outdoor use or both.
• Replace any light strands that have worn or broken cords. Make sure to read the recommendation for number of light strings you can
string together.
• Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
• If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure to check water levels daily! It is not unusual for a tree to drink two gallons of water the first
day it is in the stand.
• Keep real Christmas trees away from a heat source. It can dry out the tree quickly.

After a busy cooking day on Thanksgiving, before firing the oven back up preparing the next
holiday meal, make sure to clean it! In case of an oven fire, turn off the oven and keep the door
closed until it is cool. Clean cook tops as left-over grease can catch fire. Thanksgiving is the peak
day for home cooking fires, but Christmas and Christmas Eve follow closely behind.

If you are planning to host family and friends during the holidays, make sure they are aware of
your fire escape plan. Show them where all the exits are in your home and make sure they are
aware of a meeting spot location in case of fire.