The Christmas holiday naturally comes with many fire hazards the average household does not see the rest of the year. Christmas trees, strings of lights, dangerous decorations, heating units and holiday cooking all run significant fire safety risks. Do not let your celebration of the season lead to a house fire, serious burn injuries or tragedies in your family this year. Practice sound fire safety in and out of your home to help prevent disasters.
Holiday Fire Statistics
Escaping a house fire might be the last thing on your mind when you decorate your home for the holidays. It is important to realize, however, that how you deck the halls could make an enormous difference to the overall safety of your home and family. Holiday fire statistics show how surprisingly common these disasters are in the U.S.
- In 2017, Alabama experienced 6 injuries and 5.6 deaths per 1,000 house fires. In 2019, 64 residents of Alabama perished in home fires.
- According to Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), almost one-third of all home fires and more than a third of home fire deaths (38%) happen in December, January and February.
- More than one-third of home decoration fires stem from candles. Holiday and Christmas tree fires are more damaging than the average home fire.
- From 2013 to 2017, 160 home fires started due to Christmas trees. These fires caused an annual average of 15 injuries and 3 deaths. More than half (52%) of home fires that started from Christmas trees were fatal.
- The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that from 2014 to 2016, 108,200 homes experienced wintertime fires. These fires caused an estimated 3,575 injuries, 980 fatalities and $1.9 billion in property damage.
- Cooking is the leading cause of wintertime house fires (43%). Small, confined cooking fires accounted for 90% of these fires.
- The leading source of ignition in non-confined winter home fires was a source of heat (such as a space heater) too close to combustibles (16%).
These fire statistics are a frightening reminder that not every family makes it through the holidays unscathed. Do your best to protect your home and your family from common seasonal fire risks while you decorate, tend to your Christmas tree and cook holiday meals.
How to Prevent a Fire During the Holidays
You have the power to prevent most house fires around Christmastime. Awareness and education on fire safety are the steppingstones toward creating an environment that fights fires rather than invites fires. Once you recognize the most common causes of holiday fires, you will be better able to prevent and eliminate them.
- Keep your Christmas tree properly watered and away from sources of heat.
- Discard your tree once it dies or dries out.
- Check all Christmas lights and electrical decorations for damage before use.
- Replace any worn, frayed or damaged cords.
- Only use exterior lights (not interior lights) on the exterior of your home.
- Do not decorate your home with flammable or combustible materials.
- Unplug your Christmas tree and all Christmas lights before going to bed.
- Have a professional inspect your heating units and furnace at least annually.
- Do not decorate with real candles or open flames.
- Always supervise food while it is cooking.
- Make the kitchen a no-zone for kids and pets while cooking.
- Check all smoke detectors at least once per month.
- Create a fire evacuation plan and share it with your family members.
Everything you do this winter season, do with fire safety in mind. Try to eliminate clutter, fire hazards and combustibles as often as possible. Practice good fire safety when decorating. Teach your kids fire safety to keep the whole family safe. If a house fire does occur this holiday season, immediately exit the house, get a safe distance away and call 911. Do not return inside the home for any possessions, pets or people. Wait for firefighters to arrive to tend to the flames professionally. If you suffered severe burn injuries, property damage, or the loss of a loved one in a holiday fire caused by a faulty product, contact our product liability attorneys in Huntsville to receive compensation.