Many people spend time with friends and family putting lights and decorations during the holidays, but being mindful of proper safety habits can possibly help prevent accidents, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Council.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, during the 2011 First Presidency Christmas Devotional, told a story about when, as a four-year-old boy, he thought holding burning candles behind the curtains was beautiful.
“[What] I discovered was that curtains are flammable,” Elder Uchtdorf said. “As you might guess, the flame from the candle caught the fabric of the drapes and spread quickly, threatening the walls and ceiling of our home.”
Elder Uchtdorf’s personal story illustrates a situation families could face during the holidays.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the number of house fires rises during cooler months
Twenty percent of house fires occur in December and January.
“Dried out Christmas trees are involved in hundreds of fires, resulting in an average of 17 deaths and $13 million in property damage annually,” according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Melanie Bird, a junior studying early childhood and special education, said her parents instilled a sense of care during the holiday season in her.
“My parents were always more aware during the Christmas season,” Bird said.
The National Safety Council has published holiday safety tips, one of which is that natural trees need to be watered to prevent them from becoming dry and more susceptible to catching fire.
Bird said she and her family remember to water their tree and place the holiday lights on the branches to prevent fires.
“This year we’re going to have a real one. Lights on the Christmas tree can be scary if it’s not artificial,” Bird said.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, people should check live trees for freshness or purchase artificial trees labeled as flame-resistant to reduce the likelihood of Christmas tree fires.
Monica Evans, a junior studying sociology, said her family has used an artificial tree ever since they moved to Texas because it is not only less expensive but also easier to maintain.
Evans said her father is scared of candles, and her family rarely uses them.
According to the National Safety Council, candles should never be left unattended. In fact, Evans said that one year, a home in her neighborhood burnt down due to unattended candles.
Evans said her family has never had a major holiday accident because her family practices good holiday safety.
“My dad was always very particular about making sure we don’t plug in to many things to the same outlet,” Evans said. “He would always use power strips or other things to make sure we don’t explode the router.”