Christmas Fire Warnings Might Dampen Your Holiday But Save Your Life

12/03/2013 05:04 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Trees, food, gifts, and family all come to mind when thinking of Christmas-- but beneath the sparkling holiday lights lie some hidden dangers.

Home fires occur more often in winter than in any other season, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, an entity of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which has released a Winter Fire Safety guide with some ominous statistics and important advice.

1. Typically, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires. Well-watered trees are not a problem, but a dry and neglected tree can be.

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2. 40% of home decoration fires are started by candles.

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3. 5 to 8 p.m. is the most common time for winter home fires.

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4. 67% of winter fires occur in one- and two-family homes.

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5. Cooking is the leading cause of all winter home fires.

christmas cooking

6. December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 11% of home candle fires began with decorations, as compared to only 4% for the rest of the year.

candles

7. A heat source too close to the Christmas tree causes 1 in 6 fires.

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8. 1 in 3 home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems.

christmas electric

9. 1 of every 40 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in death.

christmas tree

10. 905 people die in winter home fires every year.

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11. $2,091,000,000 in property loss occurs from winter home fires.

money loss

12. Three of every five (57%) reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves.

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Be careful this Christmas!

USFA will be hosting a holiday fire safety Twitter Q&A on December 11 from 2-3:00 p.m. EST, featuring National Fire Protection Association and USFA fire safety experts to answer questions dealing with holiday fire safety.

To ask a question in advance, tweet it to @usfire or @NFPA using the hashtag #holidaysafety, and it will be answered by December 11.

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