By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

If you haven’t already, many of you have been thinking about pulling out those holiday decorations. ‘Tis the season’ but let’s exercise some safety sense to ensure your holidays don’t end up tragically.

Between 2015-2019, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees each year. These fires cause both deaths, and injuries, along with $10 million in direct property damage annually. Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in almost half of home Christmas tree fires. Nearly one in five Christmas tree fires was started by decorative lights. Almost two of every five home Christmas tree fires started in the living room.

Let’s start from the inside and then to the outside:



Use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory.

Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets.

Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.

When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.”

When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness.

When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and heat vents. Heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water.

Do not block doorways. Avoid using candles.


Make sure that the strings of lights you are using outside have built-in fuses on the lines.

Check the actual plug. Make sure you are using lights designated for outdoor use only. Use UL or approved Christmas lights and decorations only.

When using a ladder use caution. Ensure it is safe and secure on even ground. Avoid using ladders in wet areas or lawns where the soil is soft. Have an additional person “foot/secure” the ladder and look out for energized power-lines above.

Looking for a last minute gift? Listen up and look no further:

There’s a lot more to cover, so most importantly, use good common sense, following all safety directions & warnings, visit: for additional holiday safety information!