Thanksgiving & Christmas Safety Tips

The Boise Fire Department wants you to have a safe holiday season this year.  Please keep these safety tips in mind when celebrating the joyous season. 


  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains - away from your stovetop.
  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t cook.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • if you're frying a turkey, make sure that the fryer is at least 10 feet away from the home or other combustible structure.  It should never be used inside of a home or garage no matter how cold it is outside.  Never place the fryer under overhanging branches.  


It's easy to forget that the lovely candles used in thousands of homes during the winter holidays are ignition materials too.  To keep your holidays safe, candles should be used by adults only, and used with care.  December is the most dangerous month for candle fires, with almost twice the number of home candle fires of an average month.  Christmas is the peak day, followed by New Year's Day and Christmas Eve. For a safer holiday season:

  • Keep candles, along with all ignition materials, out of the reach of children.
  • Never leave a room with a candle still burning
  • Declare all bedrooms "no candle" zones.  Forty-one percent of the home candle fires reported from 1999-2001 started in bedrooms, and a mattress or bedding was the first item ignited in 26% of home candle fire deaths.
  • Keep candles well away from any items that can catch fire, including cloth, books, paper, curtains, Christmas tree, and decorations.  During December, decorations are the leading item first ignited during candle fires.
  • Place candles in sturdy holders, away from spots where they could be knocked over by children or pets.
  • Keep exits clear of decorations.  Be sure everyone in your home knows your fire escape routes and that there is nothing blocking these exits.

Information provided by Fireproof Children First 2005.


The following is designed to provide guidance for displaying freshly cut Christmas trees inside a public building. Some of these tips can be applied to home safety also.  For questions regarding fire code of publicly displayed trees, please contact our Administration office at 570-6500.


Cut at least 1/2 inch from the end of the tree stem, just before placing in a stand, to allow maximum water absorption.


Tree stands must be adequately sized to hold the tree in an upright position and shall be of a type that:

  • Does not damage or require removal of the tree stem base.
  • Holds the tree securely and is of adequate size to avoid tipping over the tree.
  • Is capable of containing a two-day minimum supply of water, covering the stem at least 2 inches
  • When filling the stand with water for the first time, use hot tap water (Approximately 100 degrees)
  • Never let the water level recede below the cut end of the tree.  If a stand becomes dry, the tree shall be removed immediately.
  • Don't use any additives in the tree water.
  • You must keep accurate records of the daily water consumption of each tree.

REMEMBER, Christmas trees will use 1 quart of water per 1 inch of cut end diameter per day. 

Tree Height    Minimum Water Capacity
 Up to 6 1/2 ft 1/2 Gallon
6 1/2 to 10 ft 1 Gallon 
Over 10 ft 3 Gallons



  • Light sets must be of the miniature type.  Bulbs cannot be larger than the 3-5 volt type.
  • The number of light sets that can be connected together must be consistent with manufacturer's guidelines.
  • When connecting light sets from different manufactures, the most restrictive guidelines shall be used.
  • Each connected set of lights shall be on a separate circuit.  Use only extension cords with overcurrent protection.


  • All decorative trim must be a flame resistant material or be treated with a flame retardant product.
  • Additional decorations surrounding the tree and not a part of the tree, must be carefully placed to avoid sources of heat, such as light bulbs or heater vents.
  • Combustible decorations such as straw, hay or other dry vegetation must be treated with a flame retardant solution before use.   Keep labels or other records of treatments used, your Fire Inspector may ask for them.


Remember, when setting up holiday decorations and Christmas trees, be careful where they are placed. Don't conceal or obstruct access to:

  • Exit Doors
  • Exit Lights
  • Fire Alarm panels and pull stations
  • Standpipe/ Hose cabinets
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Exit aisle ways
  • Emergency lighting