Winter Holiday Fire Safety Tips - December 3, 2009

Public Service Announcement (PDF)

Winter/Holiday Fire Safety Tips

The winter holidays are a wonderful time for family get-togethers and celebrations. They are also a time when fire departments nationwide see a significant increase in preventable home fires.

Hundreds of civilians die needlessly each winter season as a result of fires involving Christmas trees, candles and unattended cooking.  By taking some simple precautionary steps everyone can enjoy the lights and festivities and remain safe while doing so. 

*Holiday Decorating and Entertaining:

  • Test your smoke alarms.
  • Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Place Christmas trees at least 3 ft. from fireplaces, furnaces or any other heat source.
  • Water live Christmas trees on a regular basis (trees should have fresh green needles) and dispose of them safely within 4 weeks of placing them.
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Connect no more than three strands of mini light sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
  • Use clips, not nails to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Blow out lit candles when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Turn off all string lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Do not burn Christmas tree branches or wrapping paper in fireplaces.
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
  • Stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop.

The San Francisco Fire Department wishes you a happy, healthy and SAFE Holiday Season!