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For Electric Cooperative Members

Let Your Home Be Bright—and Safe

Steer clear of avoidable hazards that come with lights and trees

Holiday decorations brighten Christmas, but the National Fire Protection Association reports that holiday lights and other light-up decor are involved in an average of 160 house fires each year, causing millions of dollars in property damage. And 12% of home candle fires occur in December—1.5 times the monthly average.

Reduce the risk at your house this holiday season by keeping these important considerations in mind.


Unlike incandescent bulbs, which release most of their energy as heat, LEDs are cool to the touch—which also means they’re more energy efficient. LEDs are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, and are much more durable.

When hanging lights outdoors, use a wooden or fiberglass ladder and keep well away from power lines.

Turn off all indoor and outdoor holiday lighting before

leaving the house or going to bed. An outlet timer can make this a cinch.

Never drape anything over a lightbulb or lampshade.

Avoid using candles. Consider using battery-operated candles in place of traditional flames.

If you need to use a candle, never leave it unattended. Keep burning candles within sight, and extinguish all candles before you leave the room or go to bed.

Place lighted candles well away from combustible material and areas where they might be knocked over. Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.


When purchasing a live Christmas tree, check for freshness.

A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree.

Cut 1–2 inches from the base of the trunk immediately before placing the tree in the stand and filling with water. This ensures water absorption.

Because heated rooms quickly dry out live trees, refill the stand daily.

When purchasing an artificial tree, make sure to check that it’s fire resistant.

Don’t use electric ornaments or light strings on artificial trees with metallic leaves or branch coverings.

Place your tree at least 3 feet away from all heat sources, including fireplaces, radiators and space heaters.

When trimming a tree, only use noncombustible or flame-resistant materials.