When you’re decking the halls this year, make sure to keep fire safety in mind. That’s the main message behind "Project Holiday," NFPA's annual holiday fire safety campaign, which works to educate the public about the increased risk of home fires during the holiday season.
Holiday decorations, Christmas trees, candles and cooking all contribute to an increased number of home fires during December, making it one of the four leading months for U.S. home fires. Consider these facts:
Holiday cooking: On Christmas Day in 2013, there was a 58 percent increase in the number of home cooking fires than on a typical day, and a 54 percent increase on Christmas Eve.
Christmas trees: Christmas tree fires aren't common, but when they do occur, they’re much more likely to be deadly than most other fires. One of every 31 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death each year, compared to an annual average of one death per 144 total reported home fires.
Candles: December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top four days for home candle fires are New Year’s Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve. In December, 11 percent of home candle fires began with decorations, compared to 4 percent the rest of the year.
Holiday decorations: Between 2009 and 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an annual average of 860 home fires that began with decorations (excluding Christmas trees). These fires caused an annual average of one civilian death, 41 injuries and $13.4 million in direct property damage.
Don’t let these numbers turn you all Bah Humbug! “Project Holiday” provides a wealth of simple fire safety tips, recommendations and other resources to help everyone enjoy a safe and festive holiday season. The campaign also provides tools and resources for local fire departments to promote the campaign in their communities. Make sure to check it all out!