Fire and Rescue

Fire Chief John Lewis

John Lewis,
Fire Chief

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Fire and Rescue Department

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City of Zion Fire Department
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A Season for Sharing in Fire Safety

A Factsheet on Holiday Fire Prevention

Each year fires occurring during the holiday season injure 2,600 individuals and cause over
$930 million in damage.

According to the United Sates Fire Administration (USFA), there are simple life-saving steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday. By following some of these tips, you can greatly reduce your chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty.


Special fire safety precautions
need to be taken when
keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.

Selecting a Tree for
the Holiday

Needles on fresh trees should be green and
hard to pull back from
the branches, and the needle should not break
if the tree has been
freshly cut. The trunk
should be sticky to
the touch. Old trees can
be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles
fall off, the tree has
been cut too long, has probably dried out,
and is a fire hazard.

Caring for Your Tree

Do not place your tree
close to a heat source, including a fireplace
or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing
it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks.
Be careful not to drop
or flick cigarette ashes
near a tree. Do not put
your live tree up too
early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand
filled with water at all

Disposing of Your Tree

Never put tree branches
or needles in a fireplace
or woodburning stove.
When the tree becomes
dry, discard it promptly.
The best way to dispose
of your tree is by taking
it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by
a community pick-up


Maintain Your Holiday Lights

Inspect holiday lights each
year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets,
and excessive kinking or
wear before putting them
up. Use only lighting listed
by an approved testing laboratory.

Do Not Overload
Electrical Outlets

Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights toan extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires — they should not be warm to
the touch.

Do Not Leave Holiday
Lights on Unattended


Use Only Nonflammable

All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away
from heat vents.

Never Put Wrapping
Paper in a Fireplace

It can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a
chemical buildup in the
home that could cause an explosion.

Artificial Holiday Trees

If you are using a metallic
or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.

Candles Can Be Dangerous

If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down.
Never leave the house with candles burning.

Never Put Lit Candles
on a Tree

Do not go near a holiday tree with an open flame — candles, lighters or matches.
Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly
and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And
remember to practice your home escape plan.

For More Information

The United States
Fire Administration

Office of Fire Management Programs
16825 South Seton Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727

Or visit the USFA website:


Visit our Kid’s Page:


City of Zion, Illinois