Holiday Safety Tips: Keeping Your Family & Home Fire Safe

With the holiday season (and the cold weather) finally here, I know my family spends more time inside. The heater is turned on, candles are lit, more food than normal is being cooked, and I may even be simmering Christmas scents on the back burner of the stove. All of these things together leads to family time and fun, but can also lead to unsafe conditions if we aren’t careful. 

Did you know that the National Fire Protection Association reports most home fires and CO poisonings occur in winter. Besides heating appliances, seasonal activities such as increased cooking, using candles and decorating Christmas trees all add to the risk.

How many of those things will you be doing this holiday season? That’s why I thought some holiday safety tips might be helpful. Don’t just use these tips during the holidays – they are good fire safety tips to remember year round.

Holiday safety tips to help keep your family and home fire safe during the holidays, and year round.

Holiday Safety Tips

  • Never leave candles burning unattended. Never, ever, ever. In fact, instead of burning candles use candle warmers. I know many people don’t want to purchase candle warmers because they refills are expensive. But you can make your own candle warmer bars and pods and save a ton of money!
  • Unplug your Christmas tree lights, heaters, and other appliances that may be being used during the holidays when you are not home or when you are sleeping.
  • Keep portable and space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that may burn. Make sure to keep the kids and pets should always be kept away from them.
  • Keep cooking areas clear of things that can catch on fire (like dish towels and clothing)while you cook. Keep the handles of your pots turned inward so they do not over-hang the stove and tempt little hands to pull on them.
  • If grease catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and smother the flames, then turn off the burner.
  • Matches and lighters can lead to tragedy if the kids get them. Store those items where kids can’t reach them. Teach children that matches and lighters are “tools” and should only be used by grown ups.
  • If someone gets a burn, immediately place the wound under cool water for 10 to 15 minutes. If the burn blisters see a doctor immediately.

For even MORE holiday safety and fire safety tips, visit Kidde Fire Safety. What holiday safety tips would you add to the list?

One in four older homes needs to update fire safety equipment. How old are your alarms?
• Replace smoke alarms every 10 years. Replace CO alarms every five to 10 years, based on the model.
• Purchase an alarm with a 10-year sealed lithium battery, such as Kidde Worry-Free smoke and CO alarms, to receive hassle-free protection for a decade –no need to change a battery or hear a low battery chirp. Available nationwide at retailers like The Home Depot and Walmart, each alarm installed will save you $40 over its life in battery costs.

Seventy-five percent of homeowners don’t know where to install smoke alarms. Do you have one on every floor, and inside/outside all bedrooms?
• Choose alarms with room-specific features, such as an LED light in the hallway, or a voice notification for the bedroom.
• Place a CO alarm near sleeping areas and on each floor. Keep them 10 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.

Do your alarms incorporate the newest features and technology?
• A sealed-in 10-year lithium battery continuously powers the alarm for 10 years. It’s tamper-proof and can’t be removed.
• A digital display shows the level of CO in the air and updates the reading every 15 seconds.
• An intelligent multi-sensor responds faster to real fires and CO, plus it reduces nuisance alarms like those commonly caused by cooking.
• An end-of-life warning lets you know when to replace your alarms.

Do you need other safety products?
• Fire extinguisher – place one within reach in rooms where fires often begin: kitchen, garage, bedroom, living area
• Escape ladder – place in second and third-floor rooms as an alternative escape route

Have you developed a family escape plan?
• Practice it regularly. Know two ways out of every room and who will assist children and loved ones with mobility/health issues.

Do your children know their address and how to dial 911?
• Post your home address and emergency phone numbers on the refrigerator.

Are your appliances and chimney winter-ready?
• Have a professional inspect fuel-burning appliances to ensure they function properly and that they vent outside.
• Have a professional clean or inspect fireplaces annually. Birds and small animals can make nests and leaves can build up on top of the chimney, preventing carbon monoxide from venting properly.
• Have you created a 3-foot clutter free zone around fireplaces, space heaters or wood stoves?

*For a downloadable winter home project checklist and other information, visit


  1. I've heard about how homes can be susceptible to fires during the winter, so it helps to know what I can do to protect my home this winter. You made a great point about how unplugging my Christmas tree lights, heaters, and other appliances when I'm sleeping or when I'm not home can prevent fires. This is something that I need to start doing because I leave my Christmas tree lights on all night. I should change this habit in case my tree catches fire from the lights. Thanks for the tips!