Winter Holidays Safety
- Between 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 200 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in direct property damage annually.
- On average, one of every 32 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.
- Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in two of every five (40%) of home Christmas tree fires.
- In one-quarter (26%) of the Christmas tree fires and in 80% of the deaths, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.
- One quarter (24%) of Christmas tree fires were intentional.
- Forty-two percent of reported home Christmas tree fires occurred in December and 37% were reported in January.
- More than one-third (37%) home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den.
- U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 840 home structure fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees, in 2011-2015. These fires caused an annual average of two civilian fire deaths, 36 civilian fire injuries and $11.4 million in direct property damage.
- Ten percent of decoration fires were intentional.
- The decoration was too close to a heat source such as a candle or equipment in two of every five (42%) fires.
- More than one-fifth (21%) of the decoration fires started in the kitchen. Fifteen percent started in the living room, family room or den.
- One-fifth (19%) of the home decoration fires occurred in December.
- Candles started more than one-third (36%) of home decoration structure fires.
- More than half (55%) of the December home decoration fires were started by candles, compared to one-third (32%) in January to November.
- The top three days for home candle fires were Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year's Eve.
- Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by the day before Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.
- Cooking equipment was involved in 19% of home decoration fires. This can happen when a decoration is left on or too close to a stove or other cooking equipment.
- Ten percent of fireworks fires occur during the period from December 30 through January 3, with the peak on New Year's Day.