State Fire Marshal Offers tips for safe Christmas season

Contact: Jennifer Bowen
(334) 269-3550


The Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office wants your Christmas to be merry and bright, and most importantly, safe.

“Fire safety so often comes down to good habits and behaviors. Taking the time to make a few smart choices will help protect your family and ensure you have a safe and happy holiday season,” said State Fire Marshal Scott Pilgreen.

Here are some tips.

Tree Safety

Whether you prefer a real tree or a fake tree, keep Christmas trees at least three feet away from fireplaces and other heating sources. 

Water real trees daily to keep them from drying out.

If you’re purchasing a fake tree, look for one labeled “fire retardant.” That doesn’t mean the tree won’t catch fire, but it does mean the tree should extinguish quickly and resist burning.

Turn off tree lights when you go to bed.

And, while it's tempting to hold on to the magic of the holidays, don't hold on to your live Christmas tree. A dry Christmas tree is a fire hazard. Recycle it as soon as you can after the holidays.

Decorating Safety

When stringing up lights on the tree or on the house, check them for frayed or exposed wires and broken sockets. If you see signs of wear and tear, replace them.

Be careful not to overload electric outlets and power strips.

Consider flameless candles over real candles.

Kitchen safety

Many holiday fires are caused by kitchen mishaps.

Before cooking, test your smoke alarm by pressing the “test” button located on the device.

Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. Turn off the stove if you have to leave the room, even if it’s for a short period of time.

Keep kids at least three feet away from hot stoves and ovens.

Turn pot handles inward or toward the back of the stove so they can’t be accidentally bumped, leading to a spill.

Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Slide the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

Keep flammable items like oven mitts, plastic or wooden utensils and food wrappers away from stoves.

Check all ovens, stove eyes and fryers to ensure they’re turned off once you’re done cooking.

We at the Alabama Department of Insurance and the Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office wish you a safe and happy holiday season.