Winter Holiday Safety

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

Cooking Safety

The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.

  • Cook with caution
    • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
    • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
    • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
    • Keep anything that can catch fire – Oven Mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels – away from your stovetop
  • If you have a small (grease) cooking fire and you decide to fight the fire
    • On the stovetop, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
    • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • If you have any doubt about fighting a small fire
    • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
    • Call 9-1-1 from outside the home

Turkey Fryer Safety 

NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas fueled turkey fryers that cook the turkey in hot oil.

  • Hot oil may splash or spill during the cooking and may cause serious injury or damage.
  • In deep frying, oil is heated to temperatures of 350o Fahrenheit or more. Cooking oil is combustible. If it is heated above its cooking temperature, its vapors can ignite.
  • Turkeys must be completely thawed before placing in the fryer, because a partially thawed turkey will cause the oil to splatter causing serious burns.
  • The fryers use a lot of oil, about five gallons. Considering the size and weight of the turkey, extreme caution must be taken when placing and removing the turkey from the fryer to be sure it is not dropped back into the fryer, splattering the hot oil on the chef.

Holiday Decorating 

2 of every 5 home decoration fire are started by candles. Nearly half of decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.

  • 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. It is recommended to use flame less candles
  • Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights 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 cords do not get damaged.
  • Before heading out or to bed, blow out lit candles, and turn off all light strings and decorations.

Christmas Tree Safety

Nearly 1 of every 3 home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems. A small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can grow large very quickly.

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat source.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
  • Use lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

North Richland Hills Fire Department wishes you and your family a Happy and Safe Holidays. Source of material came from the National Fire Protection Agency: