Survey: Many Americans do not follow fire safety tips

Shriners Hospitals for Children survey uncovered dangerous habits that could put families at risk

bowdoin street fire 2011
WWLP file image of the fire at 62 Bowdon Street on June 12, 2011.

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Many people do not follow important fire and burn safety tips during the holiday season, according to an independent survey commissioned by Shriners Hospitals for Children.

A news release sent to 22News stated that awareness of fire safety was high, but there are several gaps in action. The largest gap was with real Christmas trees, which are considered one of the most dangerous fire hazards during this time of year.

The survey results showed the following:

  • 70% are aware real Christmas trees should be watered daily, but only 45% actually do.
  • 25% leave lit candles unattended in their homes.
  • 27% leave lit candles within the reach of children.
  • 47% do not keep a lid or cookie sheet nearby when cooking to extinguish a fire.
  • 25% do not turn pot handles to the back of the stove and out of children’s reach.

The survey revealed that Americans are not taking simple steps to keep their homes safe. As part of the “Be Burn Aware” campaign, Shriners Hospitals for Children offers the following fire safety tips:

Tree Care and Holiday Decorations

  • Water trees daily. Discard when dry.
  • Keep trees away from heaters and flames.
  • Inspect lights for bare wires, frays or kinks.
  • Never use indoor lights outside.

Holiday Cooking

  • Keep an eye on what you fry.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so children cannot reach them.
  • Wear short sleeves or roll sleeves up when cooking.
  • Keep a pan lid or cookie sheet nearby to cover the pan if it catches fire.

Candle Care

  • Consider using battery-operated flameless candles.
  • Never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Place candles in stable holders away from children, pets and flammable objects.

Be Prepared

  • Make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
  • Have a fire escape plan for your home and practice it regularly.

For more safety tips, Shriners Hospitals for Children has activity books, tip cards and a five-minute online quiz to help families avoid holiday injuries at