According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 240 home fires in the United States are caused by Christmas trees, and another 200 caused by the decorative lighting that we all love to see at this time of year. The holiday season is often the season of planning- what we will buy for whom, where and when we will travel, what food to prepare- while your stockings may be in place, what about your fire safety plan? Lights, dry pine needles and wood, cozy fires, candles, and lots of cooking can all increase the risk of house fires during this time of year. American Restoration wishes you a happy, healthy, and most importantly, safe holiday season. Take our advice and as you plan the minute details of your festivities, practice fire prevention, too, with these tips.

Perhaps the most quintessential piece of holiday flair is the Christmas tree. If you opt for a live tree this winter, make sure your tree is fresh. Dry trees are more likely to catch on fire. A fresh tree is green, the needles do not easily fall from the branches, and the trunk is sticky with resin. Place your tree a minimum of three feet from any heat sources such as a fireplace or heating vent and make sure you are frequently watering the tree and doing all you can to aid in the tree’s absorption of the water- this not only keeps your tree looking better, longer, but prevents the danger of fire.

Creating a warm, cozy atmosphere is an important part of the holiday season. Generating the Christmas spirit often involves candles or a crackling fire in the hearth. Open flame must be used and supervised responsibly, of course, to prevent smoke and fire damage. Make sure candles are stable, in non-flammable holders, and never left unattended. As you build a toasty fire in your fireplace, make sure the flue is fully open, and all trimmings are far from the area.

Now that the interior of your home is taken care of, what about the outdoors? Hanging strands of lights along your roof, windows, and front yard trees is a heartwarming tradition. Ensure that you string your lights safely and with great care this season to prevent any damages to your home. Buy lights that have been tested for safety, and only use lights labeled “outdoors” for exterior use (and lights labeled “indoors” for inside). Don’t overload any of your sockets, and do not plug more than three sets of lights into a single extension cord in order to prevent overpowering your electrical circuit. Be sure to check each strand frequently for frayed wires, loose connections, and broken sockets.

You can’t account for all of the little hang ups you’ll encounter this holiday season, but you can, however plan well as you decorate to ensure you have a safe and happy holiday season. American Restoration wishes all of New Mexico a wonderful and cheer filled holiday season. If you have questions about prepping your home for the season, or the prevention or remediation of fire and smoke damage, get in touch, and we’ll even help you do some of the planning.