State Fire Marshal shares fire safety tips for holiday season

Michigan's State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer urges caution as the holidays are a peak time for home fires caused by candles and space heaters left unattended, electrical problems due to worn lights, and dry Christmas trees.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than one third of home decoration fires are started by candles and one in three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.

Sehlmeyer said that the top three days for home candle fires occur on Christmas Eve., Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

“Keep candles away from the tree, decorations, curtains, and furniture that can catch fire. Always keep candles up high to prevent them from getting knocked over by children and pets. Battery operated, flame-less candles are the safest option,” Sehlmeyer said.

The Fire Marshal recommends these safety tips:

  • Choose a free tree and water it daily
  • Keep tree away from exits and at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree
  • Use lights listed by a qualified testing laboratory for indoor or outdoor use
  • Replace string lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections
  • Do not overload electrical outlets or power strips
  • ALWAYS turn off tree lights and extinguish candles when going to bed or leaving the home

Visit the Bureau of Fire Services website at for additional fire safety information.

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