Holiday safety tips from the American Red Cross of Northern Nevada

With the holiday season in full swing, the American Red Cross of Northern Nevada reminds residents that safety is paramount when decorating the house, inside and out.  Use the following tips to make your season safe, and help prevent home fires.


Decking the halls with candles? Think again!

  • Candles are very popular, especially around the holidays. But did you know that candles cause about 20 home fires a day on average in the U.S.?
  • December is the peak month for home candle fires. If you’re decorating with candles this holiday season, consider using the battery-operated kind. If you must use candles, keep them away from anything that could burn, and out of reach of pets and children.
  • Never leave burning candles unattended.


Bright ideas for lights

  • Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.
  • Turn off lights when going to bed or leaving home. Lights could short out and start a fire.
  • Check all holiday light cords to ensure they aren’t frayed or broken. Don’t string too many strands of lights together — no more than three per extension cord.
  • Turn off all holiday lights when going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Ensure outside 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.


Friendlier fireplaces

  • Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result, as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
  • Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, bows, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area.
  • Check to see that the flue is open.
  • Don’t light the fireplace if hanging stockings or other decorations on the mantel.


Safe homes have smoke alarms

  • Make sure your home has working smoke alarms. It’s one of the easiest ways to protect your home and family.
  • If your home does have working smoke alarms, practice your fire escape plan with family and ensure children know how a smoke alarm sounds, and what to do when it goes off.
  • Visit for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download our free Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).


Home fires happen. Help us alleviate suffering this holiday season and throughout the year

  • The Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes in the U.S. — most of which are home fires. • Join us in supporting both preparation initiatives and disaster response efforts to help people be safer and better able to recover resiliently if one of these catastrophes hits too close to home.             • Visit to help #EndHomeFires.


About the Northern Nevada Chapter

The American Red Cross of Northern Nevada serves 13 counties and over 87,000 square miles. Our volunteers respond to disasters both locally and nationally in addition to providing training on CPR and community preparedness. The chapter has served northern Nevada for more than 100 years.

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To learn more about the American Red Cross, visit or