How to Prevent Fires, Stay Safe During the Holiday Season

The Buffalo Grove Fire Department offers the following tips on how to prevent fires involving Christmas trees, lights, candles and wrapping paper.

Buffalo Grove Fire Department will change a red bulb to white for every fire caused by holiday decorations. It urges you to help it keep the wreath red.
Buffalo Grove Fire Department will change a red bulb to white for every fire caused by holiday decorations. It urges you to help it keep the wreath red.

The Buffalo Grove Fire Department has hung a wreath lit by red bulbs at each fire station. If a fire is directly caused by holiday decorations, one red bulb will be changed to a white bulb. By following these tips, you can help “Keep the Wreath Red.”

Christmas Trees:

  • Consider an artificial tree; they are much safer and cleaner. Select only fresh trees that are deep green in color, have a strong scent of pine, and do not lose their needles readily.
  • Do not rely on chemical sprays to make your tree flame resistant.
  • Keep trees in water‐holding stands and keep stands full of water. Place trees away from heat sources and a safe distance from exits.


  • Buy and use lights approved by a national testing laboratory.
  • Discard any lights that have frayed or worn cords, cracked sockets, broken or loose connections, bare wires, or operate intermittently.
  • Never use indoor lights outdoors. Do not overload electrical outlets (follow the manufacturers instructions for the number of strings that can be plugged in together).
  • Do not run extension cords under carpets, across doorways, or near heaters.
  • Unplug lights when you leave your home or before going to bed.



  • Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Keep candles away from items that can catch fire, like clothing, books and curtains.
  • Use candleholders that are sturdy, won’t tip over easily, are made from a material that cannot burn, and are large enough to collect dripping wax.
  • Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.
  • Keep candlewicks trimmed to one-quarter inch and extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get to within two inches of the holder. Candles should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt.
  • During power outages, avoid carrying a lit candle. Use flashlights.


Winter Season tips:

  • Keep matches, lighters and candles out of children's reach.
  • Never leave candles unattended.
  • Keep candles in sturdy holders and away from combustibles.
  • Do not wear loose fitting clothing near open flames of a fireplace, candle, or stove.
  • Burn only well-seasoned, dry wood in your fireplace.
  • NEVER burn Christmas paper wrapping in your fireplace. The paper burns too hot and too fast and could cause a fire in your chimney.


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