Use caution when Decking the Halls!

Rachel WinslowHomeowners Insurance

Every year without fail, insurance agents across the country handle thousands of claims involving home fires due to holiday decorations.  Sadly, most of these incidents could have been avoided saving the homeowners from heartache – and a lot of money.

Here are some great tips from the National Safety Council (Click HERE for the full brochure!)


Many artificial trees are fire resistant. Make sure when purchasing one, you look for a statement specifying this protection. Consider replacing your old tree if you aren’t certain it’s fire resistant

If you prefer a fresh tree, ensure it stays greener longer and is less of a fire hazard by keeping it watered.

To check for freshness, remember:

  • A fresh tree is green.
  • Fresh needles are hard to pull from branches.
  • When bent between your fingers, fresh needles do not break.
  • The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin.
  • When the trunk of a tree is bounced on the ground, a shower of falling needles shows that tree is too dry.


Regardless if you are using indoor or outdoor lights, make sure they have been tested for safety. Identify these by the label from an independent testing laboratory.

  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
  • Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
  • Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could short and start a fire.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree
  • Never use indoor lights for outdoor purposes


  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.
  • Always use non-flammable holders.
  • Keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper.
  • Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.


  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials.
  • Wear gloves while decorating with spun glass “angel hair” to avoid irritation to eyes and skin.
  • Choose tinsel or artificial icicles or plastic or nonleaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
  • In homes with small children, take special care to:
    • Avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable.
    • Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children. Pieces could be swallowed or inhaled.
    • Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food. A child could eat them!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST – UNPLUG! Please don’t leave your tree lights plugged in or any holiday decorations plugged in when you are sleeping or away from your home.  Shorts and accidents can happen and will cause a fire.  Even a well hydrated Christmas tree will go up in flames quickly.  Take a quick peek at this video.   Christmas Tree Fire

Have a happy and safe holiday season!

Rachel Winslow
Personal Lines Account Executive

Deck the Halls