Pros outline holiday home fire prevention guidelines

HUDSON – The American Red Cross cites statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration, showing nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays, claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries and costing $554 million in property damage.

SERVPRO franchise owners in the Hudson area caution home owners to follow some important guidelines for holiday decorating and entertaining to make sure that the glow in their holiday celebrations is from twinkling lights and not a costly and potentially deadly fire.

• Place Christmas trees and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents, and candles.

• Purchase flame-retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.

• Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

• If you are celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, keep flammable items, including curtains and holiday decorations, at least three feet away from your candles. Place your menorah or kinara on a non-flammable surface, such as a tray lined with aluminum foil, to catch the melting candle wax. Never leave lit candles unattended.

• Ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave and always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.

“If, in spite of all your precautions, a fire does break out, the most important thing you can do to help save lives is to install and maintain smoke alarms throughout your property,” said Sue Steen, Servpro Industries Inc., chief executive officer. “Having a working smoke alarm reduces everyone’s chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.”

Steen said that the American Red Cross is joining with fire departments and community groups nationwide to deliver and install a limited number of free smoke alarms in homes for those in need. Contact your local Red Cross chapter for more information.

The disaster response professionals at SERVPRO, a leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services, witness the devastation that home fires can cause far too often. They also know that when fire causes a loss of life, there is no “remediation” possible. To keep the focus on fire prevention, rather than fire restoration, SERVPRO has teamed up with the American Red Cross by supporting its Disaster Responder program, and in particular the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign. As a disaster responder, SERVPRO pledges dollars and support in advance to help the Red Cross develop and distribute educational materials and respond immediately when they are needed.

“SERVPRO professionals know that even the most diligent fire prevention planning can’t prevent all home fires. That’s why fire safety planning, like installing and maintaining smoke detectors and having a family escape plan, is also important,” said Steen. “If a fire does break out in your home this holiday season, make sure all your family members follow this life-saving advice from the ARC: Get Out, Stay Out and Call for Help.”

For more fire prevention and fire safety tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, visit For more information on SERVPRO in the Hudson area, please contact one of the local business owners below.

For SERVPRO of Merrimack, contact Kevin Lee at 262-9293 or

For SERVPRO of Nashua, contact Kevin Lee at 889-2311 or