Illinois State Fire Marshal Stresses Safety When Decorating for the Holidays

As Illinoisans decorate their homes with holiday cheer, the Illinois State Fire Marshal is reminding them of safety precautions so those decorations do not become a fire risk.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than two of every five home decoration fires occur due to decorations being placed too close to a heat source, and more than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles.

The Illinois State Fire Marshal is offering a few tips for safer holiday decorating:

• Make sure decorations are either flame retardant or flame resistant.
• Keep lit candles at least 12 inches away from decorations or anything that can catch fire.
• Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
• Extinguish all lit candles before going to bed or leaving the house.
• Check to make sure your lights are rated for indoor or outdoor use, or both.
• Replace any light strands that have worn or broken cords. Make sure to read the recommendation for number of light strings you can string together.
• Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
• If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure to check water levels daily! It is not unusual for a tree to drink two gallons of water the first day it is in the stand.
• Keep real Christmas trees away from a heat source. It can dry out the tree quickly.

If you plan on hosting family and friends during the holidays, make sure they are aware of your fire escape plan. Show them where all the exits in your home are, and let them know the location of your designated safe meeting spot.

More suggestions and information is available at the Illinois Fire Marshal’s Website.

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