(239) 390-8000 ~ 21500 Three Oaks Parkway, Estero, Florida 33928

The long holiday season is full of opportunities for people to get together for fun, food, and sharing. By following  some simple precautions, you can make the holidays safe for yourself, your family and friends.

Be watchful of dangers to children.  Teach them to stay away from candles, fireplaces, fireworks, space heaters, matches, and lighters.  Holly and mistletoe can be poisonous to small children and pets.

Choose toys wisely. Avoid those that could be highly flammable or a choking hazard. Make sure electric toys are labeled for fire safety, and keep them away from your tree.

Install smoke detectors on every level in your home and in each bedroom. Check their function according to manufacturer’s directions, and change their batteries at least once a year.  It could mean the difference between waking up to a small, smoldering fire or one you can’t escape. For the greatest fire safety, we recommend a smoke detector inside each bedroom in addition to the required smoke detector on each level of the home.

Wrap it up!  Dispose of gift wrappings soon after opening presents.  A room full of paper lying around on the floor and furniture is yet another holiday hazard.  Do not burn wrappings in a fireplace; they may ignite suddenly and cause a flash fire.


General safety considerations

Before you begin decorating, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions concerning installation and maintenance of electrical decorations.  Use only the lights and other electrical decorations that have been certified by a recognized independent testing laboratory. Outdoors, use only lights and other electrical decorations certified for outdoor use.

Use caution when decorating near power lines.  Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.  Don’t allow children or pets to play with electrical decorations.


Maintain your holiday lights. Inspect each decoration before plugging into an outlet.  Cracked, frayed, loose or bare wires and loose connections may cause a serious electric shock or start a fire.  Replace damaged items.  Always unplug an electrical decoration before replacing light bulbs or fuses.  Don’t mount or support light strings in any way that might damage the cord’s insulation.  Never nail or staple light strings or extension cords.  Discard broken or faulty lights and decorations.

Plug outdoor lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).  Portable GFCIs can be purchased wherever electrical supplies can be sold.  Use the gripping area on a plug when removing decorative lights and electrical decorations from outlets.

Do not overload electrical outlets. Do not connect more than three light string sets together, unless the directions indicate it is safe.  Light strings with screw-in bulbs should have no more than 50 bulbs connected together.  Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.  Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch.

Extension cords should be of the right size for the job and in good condition.  Do not cover extension cords or cords from decorations with rugs or carpets.

Do not leave holiday lights on unattended. Turn off all electrical decorations before leaving home or going to bed.

Use motorized ornaments/decorations wisely. Motorized ornaments and other decorations (animated figures) are very popular. Be sure to turn off any motorized ornaments on your tree with your holiday lights., and keep watch over animated figures, which can overheat and burn out if used for long periods of time.



Choose a fresh tree. Look for one without shedding needles. Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut.  The trunk should be sticky to the touch.  Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground.  If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.


Care for your tree. Prior to setting up a tree, the trunk should be cut off with a diagonal cut at least one inch above the original cut. Place the tree in a container that holds the tree securely and is of adequate size to avoid tipping over of the tree.  Use hot tap water for the initial fill of the support stand. Spraying your natural tree with a flame-retardant product will help ensure your tree will remain less susceptible to starting on fire.

Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks.  Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times to a level at least two inches above the butt of the tree. Keep all candles and open flames at a distance equal to the height of the tree in case the tree should tip over.

Disposing of your tree. Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.


Candles and Fire


Care with candles. Always put candles in candlesticks before you light them. Do not use them in decorations or displays. Keep candles away from curtains or other combustibles materials. Never put them in windows or near exits. And never leave candles in the reach of unsupervised children or pets.  Always blow out candles when you leave a room.

Have a fire safe fireplace. Have it professionally inspected at least once a year and cleaned if necessary. Don’t burn anything but dry wood, as paper can fly out of the chimney. Have a spark arrester installed on top of the chimney to cut hazards. Use a metal fire screen, put ashes in metal containers and never store them in your home.

Give space heaters space!   An adequate clearance of at least 36” from any combustible surface.  Make sure the heater meets UL testing and is used properly.

Party safely.  Costumes and decorations should be flame – retardant or non– combustible. Take extra care with smoking materials and always cool the contents of ashtrays before disposing. The use of alcohol and smoking can be a deadly combination.

Video on Holiday Safety

Print and distribute this brochure in your community, school or organization.