(Photo Credit: National Fire Protection Association) VIEW ORIGINAL

HONOLULU -- The Federal Fire Department would like to provide some winter holiday safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. But that also means greater risk for fire. Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and fire safe holiday season.

Holiday Decorating:

  • Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Keep candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
  • Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any strings of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cord do not get damaged.
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors.

Holiday Entertaining:

  • Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
  • Keep children and pets away from candles.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
  • Ask smokers to smoke outside. Remind smokers to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.
  • Provide large deep ashtrays for smokers. Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding.

Christmas Tree Safety:

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Before placing a tree in the stand, cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
  • Use lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory, like UL or Underwriters Laboratory.

After Christmas

  • Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry.
  • Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or places against the home.
  • Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.


  • More than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles.
  • Almost one-third of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems.
  • Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious.
  • Christmas is the peak day for candle fires.
  • More than two of every five fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.

Before heading out or to bed:

  • Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or got to bed.
  • Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.

Please contact Battalion Chief Al Balderama at (808) 471-8004 or albert.d.balderama.civ@us.navy.mil for more information about Holiday Fire Safety.

Fire safety information referenced from National Fire Protection Association. There are more additional fire safety tips, please visit https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Seasonal-fire-causes/Winter-holidays.