Common holiday decoration mistakes that could be fire hazards


(WTNH) — Christmas trees are going up in houses around our state, and so is the fire danger. The Red Cross has a list of holiday decorations mistakes that could be fire hazards in your home.

According to a 2020 national American Red Cross survey, nearly one-third of Americans leave the room or fall asleep while burning candles. That’s an all-too-common mistake that could put you and your family at risk.

Now, it sounds like common sense, but the American Red Cross says you should keep candles out of reach from children and pets; don’t leave candles unattended and keep them far away from anything that could burn.

And when it comes to holiday decor, lights, old decorations, and even your tree need to be considered.

The American Red Cross wants you to do the following:

  • Check all holiday light cords to make sure they aren’t frayed or broken.
  • Ensure outside decorations are for outdoor use only.
  • Look for the fire-resistant label when buying an artificial tree.
  • If getting a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and keep it watered.
  • Don’t light the fireplace if hanging stockings on the mantel.
  • Check the labels of older decorations. Some older tinsel is lead-based.
  • Have good, stable placement when using a ladder.

Jocelyn Hillard, the regional communications director at American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island explained, “Fires are more prevalent during these colder months and we urge you to stay safe…Put up your decorations, enjoy your holidays, but always keep safety top of mind.”

The Red Cross also says, test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can escape in less than two minutes – the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late.

The Red Cross does have an app with a safety plan you can practice with your family. Click here to explore.

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