Use caution in holiday decorating, entertaining

By Grassroots Newswire

Brightly-lit decorations, elaborate meals and large gatherings are all part of traditional holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, these seasonal traditions also cause an average of 230 home fires each year, with an average of four deaths, 21 injuries and $17.3 million in property damage.

Christmas tree lights and candles are just two of the holiday traditions that increase the likelihood of a fire starting in your home,” said Charles Hare of SERVPRO of Rockford. “There are about three times as many cooking-related fires on Thanksgiving Day and almost twice as many on Christmas Day as there are on non-holidays.”

Holiday cooking fire facts

Thanksgiving Day has three times the average number of reported home structure fires involving cooking equipment.

The two other peak days for cooking-related fires are Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

Holiday cooking safety tips

Supervise items on the stovetop. Fifty-eight percent of kitchen fires involve ranges; homes with electric cooktops have a higher risk of fire than homes with gas cooktops.

Keep flammable items — potholders, packaging, wrapping, wooden utensils and loose clothing — away from the stovetop.

Don’t let lack of sleep or alcohol consumption affect your ability to concentrate on preparing the meal.

Holiday decorating fire facts

Half of all holiday decoration fires start because the decoration is too close to a heat source.

On average, 32 candle fires are reported each day. December is the peak month for candle fires.

Holiday decorating safety tips

Keep all decorations away from heat sources like radiators, portable heaters and fireplaces.

Use flameless candles.

If you do use traditional candles, burn them in sturdy candleholders, well away from drapes and other flammable materials. Never leave them unattended and never allow them to burn down to less than 1 inch in length.

Christmas tree fire facts

50 percent of live tree fires occur between Dec. 22 and Jan. 5.

31 percent of tree fires are caused by electrical problems.

14 percent involve decorative lights.

Christmas tree safety tips

Keep live trees well watered to reduce the chance of a fire.

Check wiring on lights for breaks and wear, replace worn strings, and don’t exceed manufacturer guidelines for connecting multiple strands of lights.

Don’t leave tree lights plugged in when you are away from home or asleep.

For more fire prevention tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, contact Hare with SERVPRO of Rockford at (815) 964-0599 or

From the Dec. 4-10, 2013, issue

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