Fire safety tips to help you avoid becoming a holiday fire statistic

While the winter holiday season is traditionally a festive time of year filled with colorful decorations and family gatherings, it is too often a time of tragedy and loss as well. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics indicate that 30% of all home fires and 38% of home fire deaths occur during the months of December, January, and February. These winter fires result from a variety of sources.

According to NFPA reports, the incidence of fires caused by cooking, heating, and open flame all increase during the winter holiday period. Also note that winter holiday fires are more severe than the average fire during the year across all loss measures.

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving. In 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires. Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths. Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.

Holiday decoration and Christmas tree fires, in particular, are substantially more damaging than other fires. These fires result in twice the injuries and five times the fatalities per fire as the average winter holiday home fire. NFPA statistics show an average of 260 home fires each year started with Christmas trees. Another 150 home fires per year were caused by decorative and holiday lights.

To keep your household from becoming a holiday fire statistic, here are some safety tips to follow from Pearl River County Fire Investigator Albert Lee.

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