Keep your home safe from fire this holiday season

This fire investigation photo shows the level of devastation that a Vancouver family suffered. The cause was determined to be heat from improper tree lights combined with the tree not having water to keep it moist.

Lots of people enjoy the scent of a freshly cut pine tree and colorful twinkling lights and candles this time of year and about 32 million American homes will be decorated for the holidays. Each year, firefighters across the nation respond to hundreds of Christmas tree fires that cost families their gifts, their homes and, sometimes, even their lives.

Using care when decorating your home or business for the holidays is the best way you can keep your holiday season safe and joyful. The Vancouver Fire Department and the Fire Marshal’s Office would like to offer the following holiday fire prevention tips:

  • Place lit candles on fire-safe surfaces, holders or trays and keep them away from flammable materials, greenery, pets and young children.
  • If you purchase a fresh cut Christmas tree, remember to keep it well watered. A tree can empty the water container in a matter of hours at first, so check it often.
  • Never use lights designed for outdoor use inside your home. Outdoor lights are usually very hot and can cause fires.
  • Keep your Christmas tree at least three feet away from heaters, fire places/stoves, candles and any other sources of ignition.
  • LED lights don’t get as hot as regular lights do. Consider using them instead.
  • Do not overload your extension cords and electrical outlets with too many devices.  Use power strips with built-in circuit breaker protection.
  • Consider switching to a fire-resistant manufactured tree and use a fresh evergreen wreaths or boughs for your pine scents.

For additional information on holiday fire safety, including Christmas Tree Safety Tips and several short videos, please visit the National Fire Protection Association’s website at: