Redwood City Fire Department Urges Fire Safety During the Holiday Season

Prevent fires and stay safe with tips from the Redwood City Fire Department

The City of Redwood City is urging Redwood City and San Carlos community members to exercise fire safety through the holiday season, especially while cooking and enjoying holiday decorations such as trees, tree lights and candles. Learn from these tips to decrease the chance of home fires this winter.


  • Consider using flameless candles, which look and smell like real candles.
  • If using traditional candles, keep them at least 12" away from anything flammable, and remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over. Place candles on uncluttered surfaces, and avoid using them in the bedroom.

Holiday Trees
 According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 200 home structure fires caused by holiday trees per year. 26% of Christmas tree fires result from a heat source that’s too close to the tree.

Follow these tips to prevent tree-related fires in your home:

  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it’s labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
  • If you choose a fresh tree, make sure the green needles don’t fall off when touched; before placing it in the stand, cut 1–2" from the base of the trunk. Add water to the tree stand, and be sure to water it daily. This will prevent the tree from prematurely drying out and shedding its needles.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit, and is at least three feet away from any heat source, such as a fireplace, space heater, radiator, candle, heat vent or light.
  • Decorate your tree using lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory, and make sure you know whether they are designed for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini-string sets and a maximum of 50 screw-in bulb lights.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
  • After Christmas, remove the tree from your home. Dried out trees are fire hazards and should not be left in the home or garage.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

Unattended cooking is a leading cause of U.S. home fires and home fire injuries, according to the NFPA.

Exercise life-saving caution in the kitchen in the following ways:

  • Most cooking fires involve the stovetop, so keep anything that can catch fire away from it, and turn off the stove when you leave the kitchen, even if it’s for a short period of time.
  • If you’re simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
  • Consider creating a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food and drinks are prepared or carried, to avoid exposing children to the fire hazards in your kitchen.
  • If a small cooking fire develops and you decide to fight the fire, smother stovetop flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • If you have any doubt about fighting even small fires, evacuate your home immediately and call 9–1–1.
  • Only use turkey fryers outdoors.

Fire Extinguishers

All homes should be equipped with a fire extinguisher. If you do not have a fire extinguisher, the Redwood City Fire Department recommends investing in one to assist with small kitchen fires and other potential home fire hazards.

Recently a fire extinguisher company, Kidde, recalled their fire extinguishers with plastic handles due to failure to discharge and nozzle detachment. The Redwood City Fire Department is urging all community members to check their brand of fire extinguisher and if you own a Kidde brand, contact Kidde immediately to request a free replacement fire extinguisher and for instructions on returning the recalled unit, as it may not work properly in a fire emergency. Contact Kidde toll-free at 855–271–0773 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, or online here and click on “Product Safety Recall” for more information.

Additional Resources

Additional information on home fire safety for the holidays is available through the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) website, here.

Click here for a homeowners and renters fire safety checklist, offered by the U.S. Fire Administration. For more safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration, go here.

More information on how to make your home “fire-safe” can be found on the Redwood City Fire Department website here.

The Redwood City Fire Department proudly serves and protects the cities of Redwood City and San Carlos.