Holiday Season Tips

Christmas, along with Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, is undoubtedly the highlight of the holiday season. Gatherings of people, food, drink, fancy clothing, candles, decorations, and the fireplace are all part of these events.

New Years comes right around the corner and catches us exhausted. Personal and loved ones safety tends to take a back seat to all of this celebration. Holiday safety should be part of our planning for these festive occasions. Here are a few safety bullets for winter and holiday safety:

Smoke Alarms

  • Place a smoke alarm on each level of your home and outside bedrooms
  • Test smoke alarms monthly
  • Teach children what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear it sound (Get Out-Stay Out)
  • Do not remove the batteries to put in other appliances such as personal stereos or games

Christmas Tree

  • Consider an artificial tree, they are generally fire retardant
  • If you do get a real tree, keep it well watered
  • Do not leave tree lights burning when you go out, even if it is "just for a few minutes"
  • Even when attended, do not let tree lights run for more than six (6) - eight (8) hours
  • If you have pets, consider not putting up a tree
  • Do not place your tree close to a heat source - three (3) feet
  • Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wire, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up
  • Some lights are designed only for indoor or outdoor usage but not both
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree
  • Never use electric lights on a metal tree
  • Do not place the tree where it blocks exits
  • Choose sturdy tree stand designed not to tip over
  • Safely dispose of real tree when it begins dropping needles - dried out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in a house or garage or placed against a house


  • Avoid using lit candles if possible
  • If not, use candle holders that are sturdy, won't tip over easily, are made from material that can't burn and are large enough to collect dripping wax
  • Don't place lit candles in windows, where blinds and curtains can close over them
  • Never leave the house with candles burning
  • Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep
  • Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids
  • Try to avoid carrying a lit candle
  • Keep candles up high out of reach of children
  • Keep candles away from decorations and other combustible material


  • Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. When cooking for holiday visitors remember to keep an eye on the range
  • Clean the oven and stove prior to the holiday. Often the extra load on the appliances causes a fire due to the high use and extra grease build up
  • Keep kitchen clutter away from the stove and oven
  • Always wear short, tight fitting sleeves when cooking
  • Turn pot handles inward to avoid spills
  • Never use the range or oven to heat your home
  • Provide plenty of large deep wide lipped ashtrays and check them frequently
  • Never smoke in bed
  • Don't put ashtrays on the arms of sofas or chairs
  • Don't leave cigarettes, cigars or pipe unattended
  • If you begin to feel drowsy while watching television or reading, extinguish your cigarette, cigar or pipe
  • After a party, always check on, between and under upholstery and cushions and inside trash cans for cigarette butts that may be smoldering
  • Use a metal or glass screen in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting carpets or furniture
  • Dispose of hot ashes in metal containers placed away from the house
  • Clean your chimney regularly
  • Do not burn trees, decorations or wrapping paper in your fireplace
  • Use aged wood, not green wood if available
  • Hopefully these reminders will help each and every one of you and your loved ones have a safe and happy holiday season. More information can be obtained from the City of Little Rock Fire Marshal's Office by calling (501) 918-3780.


  • Install smoke detectors (alarms)
  • Develop a home fire escape plan
  • Familiarize children with the sound of your smoke alarm
  • Have at least two ways out of each room
  • Get out and Stay out