Winter & Holiday

The East Lansing Fire Department wishes you a safe and happy holiday and offers the following safety tips to ensure a safe holiday season:

  • Keep your Christmas tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces and portable and baseboard heaters. Keep fresh-cut trees moist by watering every day, and dispose of fresh-cut trees before they become dry. Be sure to have a safe holiday tree, because they are involved in approximately 400 fires annually, resulting in about 20 deaths, 70 injuries and an average of more than $15 million in property loss and damage.

  • Candles are an integral part of many holiday festivities, but candle fires peak during the month of December. Always keep candles in stable non-combustible containers. Do not use candles on trees or in flammable decorations. Never leave candles unattended or within reach of children or pets, and extinguish all candles before leaving the room or going to sleep. Learn more about Candle Safety (PDF).

  • Electric outlets and cords are the main ignition sources for holiday tree fires. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding tree lights. Any lights with worn, broken or frayed wires or loose bulbs should be discarded. Always unplug tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

  • Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States. As you cook for your holiday visitors remember to keep an eye on the kitchen. If you must leave the room while preparing food, set a timer or carry a pot holder to remind you that food is cooking. It is also a good idea to clean the stove and oven before they are used heavily for the holidays.

  • Portable heaters become a common source of fire during the winter months. Keep all combustibles at least 3 feet from heaters. Do not use cooking devices to heat your home.

  • Fireplaces offer warmth and beauty when cared for properly. Make sure your fireplace is cleaned and inspected once a year. Always use a screen to prevent sparks from entering your home, and burn only seasoned wood, never wrapping paper or trash. Wait until ashes are cool before removing from the fireplace, and be sure to dispose of them in a non-combustible container.

  • Make sure all your smoke detectors function properly. A working smoke detector doubles your chances of surviving a residential fire. Smoke detectors make great holiday gifts! Follow these safety precautions and have a safe and happy holiday season.

  • Consider putting together a gift basket containing these safety-related items: 1) smoke detectors and batteries, 2) quality fire extinguisher, 3) flashlight and batteries or light sticks, 4) first aid kit, and 5) mobile phone.