The holiday season is around the corner. Before you become too busy with decorating, cooking and attending holiday parties, consider your heightened fire risk. Your heating system will most likely be on full blast for the next few months. That alone can cause a disaster. When you throw in flammable decorations, strings of electric lights and large amounts of cooking, the fire hazards are endless. However, there are ways to reduce your risk of experiencing fire and smoke damage. Consider implementing the following safety precautions into your daily routine this holiday season.

Light Strands

  1. Don’t connect too many strands together. Always read the label and don’t exceed the recommended amount. According to the NFPA, electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 43% of home Christmas tree fires.
  2. Only use lights that have been tested for safety by a reputable lab. Some lights or other electrical decorations do not meet safety standards and should be avoided.
  3. Inspect lights before use and replace if cord is frayed or bulbs are broken.
  4. Unplug light strands before going to sleep or leaving your home.
  5. Make sure outlets aren’t overloaded. Don’t plug extension cords into each other.
  6. Don’t force cords into small spaces or allow them to be pinched by furniture or staples.
  7. If you hang lights on a real tree, make sure the tree stays hydrated. If the tree dries out, dispose of it immediately.

Heat Source

  1. Make sure holiday decorations and Christmas trees are 3 feet from any type of heat source including heaters, fireplaces and space heaters.
  2. Turn off space heaters when you leave the room. They can easily fall or come into contact with flammable items and catch fire quickly.
  3. Keep candles away from decorations and other flammable items. According to the NFPA, more than 1/3 of home decoration fires are started by candles.
  4. Use battery operated candles to lower your risk of a home fire this winter.
  5. Before you start using your fireplace, schedule a professional chimney sweep. Creosote buildup has the potential to create a deadly home fire.


  1. Use caution while cooking family favorites this holiday season. According to the NFPA, Peak days for home cooking fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
  2. According to the NFPA, Cooking equipment is involved in 20% of home decoration fires. Avoid hanging decorations around cooking appliances.
  3. Never leave stovetop unattended.
  4. Clean oven and stove top before use. Leftover food and grease can catch on fire.
  5. Double check that appliances are turned off after use.

We hope these tips help you and yours enjoys a happy and safe holiday season. If you experience fire or smoke damage, ServiceMaster Restoration & Cleaning can help. We’ve delivered peace of mind to customers in Columbus, GA for over 25 years. Contact us day or night to request emergency restoration services. The quicker you contact us, the more damage we can prevent.

Photo by: © Alexshevchenko |