Red Cross offers holiday safety tips

It's a good idea to keep Christmas decorations clear of the wood stove.

It's a good idea to keep Christmas decorations clear of the wood stove.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.


With the holiday season in full swing, the American Red Cross of Northern Nevada reminds residents that safety is paramount when decorating the house, inside and out. Use the following tips to make your season safe, and help prevent home fires:

Decking the halls with candles?

Candles are very popular, especially around the holidays. But did you know that candles cause about 20 home fires a day on average in the U.S.?

December is the peak month for home candle fires. If you’re decorating with candles this holiday season, consider using the battery-operated kind. If you must use candles, keep them away from anything that could burn, and out of reach of pets and children.

Never leave burning candles unattended.

Bright ideas for lights

Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.

Turn off lights when going to bed or leaving home. Lights could short out and start a fire.

Check all holiday light cords to ensure they aren’t frayed or broken. Don’t string too many strands of lights together — no more than three per extension cord.

Turn off all holiday lights when going to bed or leaving the house.

Ensure outside decorations are for outdoor use and fasten lights securely to your home or trees. If using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated to avoid an electrocution or fire hazard.

Friendlier fireplaces

Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. A flash fire may result, as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, bows, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that the flue is open.

Don’t light the fireplace if hanging stockings or other decorations on the mantel.

Safe homes have smoke alarms

Make sure your home has working smoke alarms. It’s one of the easiest ways to protect your home and family.

If your home does have working smoke alarms, practice your fire escape plan with family and ensure children know how a smoke alarm sounds, and what to do when it goes off.

Visit for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download our free Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).

Home fires happen. Help us alleviate suffering this holiday season and throughout the year

In 2021 alone, Red Cross volunteers responded to more than 100 home fires in Northern Nevada, helping more than 400 people.

Visit to help #EndHomeFires.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment