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Candles and holiday decorations can increase your risk for a house fire. Keep in mind a few simple tips to help you have a safe and happy holiday season.

  • Candles are responsible for more than half of the home decoration fires in December.1
  • Most home candle fires take place on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

Candle Safety

  • Instead of real candles, consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which mimic the look of real candles without the danger.2
  • If you do use real candles, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be knocked down easily.
  • Keep candles at least 1 foot away from anything that can burn.3
  • Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a fire could start with blinds or curtains.
  • Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Candles should be out of the reach of children and pets. Young children should never hold a lit candle. Consider providing battery-operated candles for children.
  • Adults should watch candles to make sure they’re safely away from flammable materials.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.

Household/Outdoor Decorations

  • Windows and doors should be free of any obstructions such as decorations.
  • Nails should not be used to hang lights. Instead, use clips so cords aren’t damaged.4
  • Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Outdoor electrical lights should be brought inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and keep them in good shape.5

General Fire Safety

  • Smoke alarms should be on every level of a home, including outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom.6
  • Alarms should be connected for the best protection, so when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms monthly by pushing the test button to make sure they’re still operational.
  • Replace smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
  • Plan and practice a home fire escape drill that includes two ways out of every room.
  • When entertaining guests, make sure they’re aware of escape routes.



*This post was originally published December 7, 2o20.




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Erica Dalton

Merchants Insurance Group

Merchants Insurance Group sells its products through a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agents in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. We sell our products through independent insurance agents because we believe they provide value to policyholders through their broad range of products and their insurance expertise.