Red Cross: 10 Ways To Safely Decorate Your Home

ALBUQUERQUE The 2019 holiday season is here, and the Greater Phoenix Red Cross, wants everyone to stay safe as they decorate their homes.
Decorations like trees, lights and candles increase the risk of home fires during the holidays — with Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day being the top three days for home candle fires in the U.S.
  • Use battery-operated candles. If you must use candles, never leave them unattended, keep them away from anything that could burn, and place them out of reach from children and pets.
  • Check all holiday light cords to make sure they aren’t frayed or broken. Don’t string too many strands of lights together — no more than three per extension cord.
  • When decorating outside, make sure decorations are for outdoor use and fasten lights securely to your home or trees. If using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated to avoid an electrocution or fire hazard.
  • If buying an artificial tree, look for the fire-resistant label. When putting it up, keep it away from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat.
  • If getting a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and water it to keep it fresh. Bend the needles up and down to make sure no needles fall off.
  • Don’t use electric lights on metallic trees.
  • If hanging stockings on the fireplace mantel, don’t light the fireplace.
  • Turn off all holiday lights when going to bed or leaving the house.
  • If using older decorations, check their labels. Some older tinsel is lead-based. If using angel hair, wear gloves to avoid irritation. Avoid breathing in artificial snow.
  • If using a ladder, be extra careful. Make sure to have good, stable placement and wear shoes that allow for good traction.
The Red Cross also advises people to test their smoke alarms and practice their home fire escape plan until everyone in their household can get out in two minutes or less. Visit for more information and free resources, or download the free Red Cross Emergency App (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).
HOME FIRES ARE MOST FREQUENT DISASTER Every eight minutes, the Red Cross responds to a disaster in the U.S.- most often, home fires. In addition, the Red Cross is working with partners to prevent fire-related deaths and injuries by installing free smoke alarms in high-risk communities and helping families create escape plans through its Home Fire Campaign — which has saved at least over 658 lives across the country since launching in October 2014.
Volunteers from the Arizona-New Mexico and El Paso region and local partners have installed more than 9,920 free smoke alarms and made more than
4,600 households safer from the threat of home fires.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.