FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, December 17, 2015


Holiday Lights, Candles and Decorations Can Become Dangerous If Not Used with Caution

Trenton, NJ – While the weather might not be frosty, the holiday season is upon us. December is a month of celebration for many people, but whether the holiday is Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, festivities include lights and decorations. For this reason,  the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Fire Safety is offering important fire safety precautions to follow during this festive time of year.

"The winter holidays should be a season of celebration and time spent enjoying the company of family and friends," said DCA Commissioner Charles A. Richman. "However, people should also be mindful of the fire safety hazards that present themselves specifically at this time of year."

"Holiday mainstays like Christmas trees, decorative lights and lit candles increase the overall risk of fire," said William Kramer, Jr, Acting Director and New Jersey State Fire Marshal. "Celebration can quickly turn to tragedy."

Kramer references national statistics:

  • One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • A heat source near a Christmas tree causes roughly one in every four fires.
  • More than half (56 percent) of home candle fires occur when flammable objects are too close to the candle.
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.

Source: National Fire Protection Association

Kramer notes there are simple steps families can practice to reduce the chance of a holiday fire.

  • Opt for LED lights and projection-type lights versus traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • Keep three feet away from any heat source such as a space heater.
  • Recycle your natural tree as soon as possible.
  • Do not connect more than three strands of lights.
  • Consider using battery-operated LED candles.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.

Kramer adds that fully functional smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must be on every level of your home especially adjacent sleeping areas. Families should also create and practice escape plans.

Visit the following link for a video on Holiday fire safety: Holiday Fire Safety Video

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing community risk reduction and firefighter training programs.

Tammori Petty
or Emike Omogbai
(609) 292-6055