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FASNY: Spread holiday cheer - and fire safety


Mon, Dec 5th 2022 11:30 am

Use FASNY holiday tips to hear sleigh bells jingling, not fire alarms ringing

Submitted by The Firefighter’s Association of New York

The holiday season is here! All across the state, New York residents are setting up holiday candles, trees and lights to decorate their home. The Firefighter’s Association of New York (FASNY) would like to remind everyone of a few safety tips to enjoy a safe holiday season.

“The holidays bring cheer, love and joy to New Yorkers each year,” FASNY president Edward Tase Jr. said. “Unfortunately, it historically also brings an increase in home fires. Dry trees, unattended cooking, and forgotten candles can all lead to tragedy. We want all New Yorkers to enjoy a safe and accident-free holiday.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to an average 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year, and an average of 7,900 home fires started by candles. From 2014-18, fires caused by candles resulted in an annual average of 81 civilian fire deaths, 677 civilian fire injuries, and $278 million in direct property damage per year. 

New York state has the second-most home fire fatalities this year, with 126 deaths, following Pennsylvania with 141. At this time last year, New York had 102 home fire fatalities, fifth-most in the nation.

Battery Risk

“Along with our regular safety tips, FASNY would like to encourage New Yorkers to be safe and careful with new gadgets that may come into the home around the holidays,” Tase said. “Many gifts such as hoverboards, laptops, e-bikes, drones and toys may contain hazardous lithium-ion batteries. It is important to never leave a device with a lithium-ion battery unattended while charging, and if the battery appears damaged – do not use it!”

Fire risk can occur when these powerful batteries are improperly stored or charged, leading to overheating. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when charging, and only use the charging cord that came with the device. If a battery is overheating or has stopped working, move the device away from flammable materials and safely dispose of it.

“It is not recommended that lithium-ion batteries be disposed of in household trash. Instead, take them to a battery recycling location.”

“Keep you and your loved ones safe this holiday by not leaving candles unattended, and turning off all decoration lights when leaving the home,” Tase Jr. said. “Also, if using a live tree to decorate your house this season, be sure to water it often and place it away from any heating sources to avoid fire risk.

“As always, FASNY wishes all New Yorkers a safe and happy holiday this year.”

Holiday decorating tips from FASNY and the National Fire Protection Association:

√ Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame-resistant or flame-retardant.

√ Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.

√ Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.

√ Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.

√ Use clips – not nails – to hang lights, so the cords do not get damaged.

√ Keep decorations away from windows and doors.

Fire Safety Tips For Your Christmas Tree

√ Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire, so look for a tree with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t break easily from its branches. The tree shouldn’t be shedding its needles readily.

√ Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.

√ Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested in a lab by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety, and throw out any damaged lights.

√ Any lights you use outdoors must be labeled suitable for exterior placement, and be sure to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle.

√ Keep all your holiday candles away from your Christmas tree, surrounding furniture and décor.

√ Don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree lights off each night.


Founded in 1872, the Firefighters Association of the State of New York represents the interests of the more than 85,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York state. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.

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