It’s the 2019 holiday season, and the American Red Cross wants everyone to stay safe as they decorate their homes for upcoming festivities.
Did you know that Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are the top three days for home candle fires? Follow these simple tips to have a safe holiday, and test your smoke alarms and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone in your household can get out in two minutes or less. Visit redcross.org/homefires for free resources or download the free Red Cross Emergency App (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).
Holiday Decorating Safety Tips:
Use battery-operated candles. If you must use candles, never leave them unattended, keep them away from anything that could burn, and place them out of reach from children and pets.
Check all holiday light cords to make sure they aren’t frayed or broken. Don’t string too many strands of lights together — no more than three per extension cord.
When decorating outside, make sure decorations are for outdoor use and fasten lights securely to your home or trees. If using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated to avoid an electrocution or fire hazard.
If buying an artificial tree, look for the fire-resistant label. When putting it up, keep it away from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat.
If getting a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and water it to keep it fresh. Bend the needles up and down to make sure no needles fall off.
Don’t use electric lights on metallic trees.
If hanging stockings on the fireplace mantel, don’t light the fireplace.
Turn off all holiday lights when going to bed or leaving the house.
If using older decorations, check their labels. Some older tinsel is lead-based. If using angel hair, wear gloves to avoid irritation. Avoid breathing in artificial snow.
If using a ladder, be extra careful. Make sure to have good, stable placement and wear shoes that allow for good traction.
Home fires take seven lives each day in the U.S. To prevent fire tragedies, the Red Cross is working with community partners to install free smoke alarms and help families create escape plans through its Home Fire Campaign — which has saved at least 658 lives nationwide since launching in October 2014. Across the country, Red Cross volunteers and partners have: installed nearly 2 million free smoke alarms; reached more than 1.5 million children through youth preparedness programs and made more than 822,000 households safer from the threat of home fires.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit them on Twitter at @RedCross.