Take note: Behind the twinkle, sparkle and dazzle of the holidays, safety hazards lurk. Every year, the Oahu fire department responds to many home fires started from Christmas trees. And, according to a National Fire Protection Association study, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day rank as the peak days for kitchen fires.

Lorraine Carli, vice president of outreach and advocacy for the NFPA, said that although Christmas tree fires are not common, they can be deadly. Even hanging decorations can pose a risk that lead to injuries and emergency room visits, she said.

Being aware of common safety measures during this busy and stressful time of year is key, Carli said, whether it’s the simple act of unplugging your tree lights or keeping an eye on your stove while cooking a big meal.

“It’s really, really important just to be vigilant this time of year,” Carli said.

Here are tips from the NFPA and Pepco to make sure you have a safe holiday.


Cooking is the No. 1 home fire hazard, according to the NFPA, and December is the peak time for candle fires; these often occur in the bedroom, after people fall asleep.

“Fires are a risk in the kitchen year-round, but we’re even more distracted by entertaining guests and family this time of year,” Carli said.

● Stay in the kitchen when cooking and always keep an eye on the stove, oven or grill.

● Keep oven mitts, dish towels and other flammable items away from heating elements and open flames.

● Keep an eye on candles and fireplace fires, and be sure to extinguish them before going to bed or leaving the house.

●Keep children at least three feet away from BBQ fires.

● Check your smoke detectors. “This is a given,” Carli said. “They should be checked once a month.” Installing a life safety system like a monitored, photoelectric smoke alarm system is the best defense against tragedies from house fires.


Holiday lighting poses the risk of overdrawing power and creating a fire hazard, Pepco’s Sean Kelly said. This is especially true of older lights. With a home automation system from Lifeline, you can easily set lighting schedules for Christmas trees and other decor so that you save money, and energy.

From our home to yours, Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) to all our customers. Mahalo for your support throughout 2015.

Todd Bedford
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