Christmas is a time of love and joy. However, they can also become very dangerous. There are a number of holiday fire hazards you should be aware of this time of the year. Here are five of the most common — and how to avoid them.

  1. Christmas trees. A live Christmas tree gradually dries out and becomes flammable. When you’re putting it up, check to see that the needles stick firmly on the tree rather than coming off easily. Don’t set it next to the fireplace, the heating vent, or another heat source. Water the tree regularly to keep it from drying out. If a lot of needles start falling off, then it’s a fire hazard and should be discarded.
  2. Christmas lights. Some of the biggest holiday fire hazards are caused by electrical issues. Make sure your lights don’t have frayed wires or places where the insulation is stripped away and that the light sockets aren’t damaged. Don’t plug one string of lights into another or try to overextend your electrical outlets. All of these things can lead to electrical fires. Additionally, many Christmas lights heat up when they’re left on, which is particularly dangerous if your tree dries out. Consider LED bulbs, which remain cool to the touch.
  3. Candles. If you’re lighting candles, make sure they are stable and can’t be easily knocked over. Keep the candles at least 3 feet away from curtains, holiday decorations, or any other flammable items. Never leave lit candles unattended.
  4. Fireplaces. Use a fire screen to keep a roaring fire safely contained. Keep paper and other flammable items away from the fireplace. Also, don’t forget to have your chimney inspected to ensure it’s working properly.
  5. Stoves. If you’re doing any holiday cooking or baking, test your smoke detectors first, to ensure they’re working. Keep a fire extinguisher handy, and keep appliances with cords away from any heat sources.

These holiday safety tips, brought to you by Jackson & Sons. Serving the heating and air needs of families and businesses since 1974.