City of Madison Logo
Madison Fire Department
Committed to recruiting and retaining a qualified, diverse, inclusive and safe fire workforce.

Safety & Prevention

Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

Decorating your home for the holiday season can bring joy and satisfaction when you keep safety in mind.

  • Choose a fresh tree by either cutting your own or looking for one with a deep green color and strong pine scent. Avoid those with brittle needles that readily fall from the tree.


  • At home, keep the tree outside until you are ready to decorate it. Cut approximately two inches off the trunk so it will absorb water more easily, then place it in a sturdy base holder. Select a place where the tree does not block a door or hallway and that is well away from stoves and fireplaces. Keep the tree watered as it will dry out quickly indoors. Keep small children and large pets away from the tree.


  • Never use candles on the tree. Prior to putting electric lights on it, inspect each string to make sure that there are no cracked or broken sockets and they are working properly. Discard those sets of lights that have frayed or bare wires.


  • If purchasing lights look for a label or tag bearing an approval by a recognized laboratory or testing company. Never purchase or use indoor lights or indoor extension cords for outdoor displays; be sure to use approved (ul, fm, arl) grounded outdoor extension cords.


  • When you leave your home or go to bed, turn off all your holiday lights in order to avoid accidents related to short circuits or overheating.


  • Dispose of your tree soon after the holidays and before it dries out. Place the tree by the curb after having first removed all decorations. Do not "bag" the tree.


  • Use additional caution if you have a fireplace in your home. Don't hang decorations on or around your fireplace if you intend to use it. When using your fireplace make sure the flue is open, a spark screen is in place, and that the matches are stored in a fireproof container well out of the reach of children.


Go to Seasonal Decoration Requirements (PDF) for more details.