The holiday season is fraught with possible dangers from fire.
Ranging from dried-out Christmas trees to overloaded electrical circuits, the dangers are high in a season when awareness may be at a low point. Fire departments are well positioned to communicate these dangers to citizens. Social media makes it easier than ever to spread “messages of good habits” when it comes to fire prevention in homes and businesses.
A Look At The Statistics
The dangers are high in a season when awareness may be at a low point
According to the latest statistics, covering 2013-2017, fire departments respond to an average of 160 home fires each year that start with Christmas trees, according to NFPA Applied Research. Electrical distribution of lighting equipment was involved in 44% of home Christmas tree fires, and another 25% were caused by some type of heat source, such as a candle too close to the tree.
Excluding Christmas trees, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 780 home structure fires per year that began with Christmas decorations (between 2013 and 2017, according to NFPA Applied Research). On average, 22 home candle fires are reported each day, with the two peak days for candle fires being Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. About 10 percent of fireworks fires occur between Dec. 30 and Jan. 3, with the peak on New Year’s Day.
Help From The U.S. Fire Administration
U.S. Fire Administration provides a series of holiday, candle and Christmas tree outreach materials to enable fire departments to increase awareness of holiday fires in their communities. A social media toolkit contains content that a department can easily share on Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels. Content may be copied or customized to reach any audience.
Messages from the U.S. Fire Administration that departments can share on social media platforms include:
- The top three days of the year for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve.
- Residents should only use decorations that are flame-retardant or not flammable.
- Holiday lights should be checked each year for frayed wires or excessive wear.
- A limit of three strands of holiday lights should be linked.
- Burning candles should not be left unattended. Battery-operated flameless candles are a safer alternative.
- Christmas trees should be kept away from heat sources and room exits.
- Watering a Christmas tree daily keeps it from becoming dry and flammable.
Care is required to ensure that the festivities of the season do not come at a cost of lost property and/or lives. Fire prevention can lessen the burden on firefighters during a season when spending time with family is at a premium. The sadness of a fire tragedy, especially during the holiday season, can be unbearable. The holiday season is also an appropriate time to acknowledge the hard work that departments and other fire professionals dedicate to preventing and fighting fires.
We at TheBigRedGuide.com salute the work of the fire service and the fire industry to keep residents and businesses safe from fire and other emergencies, both during the holiday season and throughout the year. Happy holidays to all our readers, and we look forward to providing even more useful information on our site in 2020.