This is a wonderful time of year as people enjoy the holiday season but with that enjoyment can come disaster in the form of a house fire.  As you play holiday music to decorate for the season, the American Red Cross encourages people to remember to follow safety measures to ensure homes and loved ones are safe from the threat of fire. During the holiday season, an average of 40 home fires per day are caused by children playing, and candle fires are also four times as likely to occur. That’s why these seven Red Cross fire safety tips  are so important to remember before stringing up the lights or gathering with family and friends.

1. Keep children, pets and decorations away from lit candles.

2. Check food regularly and stay home while cooking. Use a timer to ensure you don’t forget about meals in the oven.

3. Choose decorations and artificial trees that are flame resistant or flame retardant. Place the tree away from heat sources and exits. Water trees daily.

4. Never leave portable heaters or fireplaces unattended. Install smoke alarms.

5. If hanging stockings on the fireplace, do not use the fireplace for fires.

6. Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as sources of heat or stoves.

7. Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini light sets.

For more Red Cross safety information, please visit redcross.org/prepare.