Thoughts on holiday fire safety

Holidays just aren’t the same without the traditional decorations. As you decorate your home and spend time with family and friends, please be aware of potential dangers from holiday decorations that could lead to fires and injuries.

Christmas trees: 

  • If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it’s fire resistant. It doesn’t mean the tree won’t catch fire, but it will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
  • If you buy a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and set it up away from fireplaces and radiators. Be sure to keep the stand filled with water.


  • Check each set of indoor or outdoor lights, and throw out damaged sets.
  • Don’t overload extension cords. Use no more than three sets of lights with a single extension cord.
  • Always turn off your holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house.


  • Use only flame-resistant materials to decorate your tree.
  • Keep children and pets away from burning candles. Place candles where they will not be knocked over and far away from any item that can burn such as furniture, mattresses, bedding, curtains or other decorations. Always use non-flammable candleholders.


  • Don’t burn Christmas tree branches or wrapping paper in the fireplace.
  • Keep gifts and mantel decorations a safe distance from a burning fire.
  • Consider purchasing a fireplace spark guard, a type of fireplace screen specially designed to protect your home from sparks that may shoot up and out of the fire.
  • Keep small children and pets a safe distance from fireplaces and wood stoves with a fireplace safety gate or screen guard.

 We wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

 Barb Riordan, BSN, RN~ Barb Riordan, BSN, RN, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

The Burn Clinic at Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive care for children with any kind of burn, including those caused by flames, scalds, electricity, chemicals or friction. Each year, Children’s Hospital cares for more than 100 inpatients with serious burns and more than 700 outpatients.

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