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May Your Holidays Be Merry (And Safe!)
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By Ex-Chief Dean W. Pappas
December 2, 2018

Festive celebrations, flickering lights and winter greens are hallmarks of the holiday season, but they also present fire risks that can quickly turn this festive time of year into a devastating one. NFPA works to educate the public about potential fire risks during the holidays, offering tip sheets, videos, and other resources to help everyone safely enjoy the season.

Winter holiday fires by the numbers . . .
Between 2012-2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 170 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 4 deaths, 15 injuries, and $12 million in direct property damage annually.
On average, one of every 45 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 139 total reported home fires.
Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 43% of home Christmas tree fires.
In one-quarter (27%) of the Christmas tree fires and in 80% of the deaths, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.
More than one-fifth (22%) of Christmas tree fires were intentional.
Forty-two percent of reported home Christmas tree fires occurred in December and 33% were reported in January.
Two of every five (40%) home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den.
Source: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Christmas Trees" report

Excluding Christmas Trees . . .
Ten percent of decoration fires were intentional.
The decoration was too close to a heat source such as a candle or equipment in two of every five (42%) fires.
More than one-fifth (21%) of the decoration fires started in the kitchen. Fifteen percent started in the living room, family room or den.
One-fifth (19%) of the home decoration fires occurred in December.
Source: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Decorations" report

And don't forget candles . . .
On average, 23 home candle fires were reported each day between 2012-2016.
More than half (56%) of the December home decoration fires were started by candles, compared to one-third (31%) in January to November.
The top three days for home candle fires were Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year's Eve.
Source: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Decorations" report

So enjoy the time with family and friends and BE CAREFUL! Please look at the attached "Winter Safety" and "Christmas Tree Safety" guides.

Attachment Christmas Tree Safety Tips.pdf  (931k)
Attachment Winter Holiday Safety.pdf  (854k)


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Katonah Volunteer Fire Department
65 Bedford Road
Katonah, New York, 10536
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