Give Life-Saving, Practical Gifts This Holiday Season Protect Loved Ones from Fire and Burn Injury All Year Long

Contact: Mario L. Morrow 517-373-9280
Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

DECEMBER 2, 2009 - The Bureau of Fire Services reminds consumers that while shopping for that perfect gift, don't overlook the gifts that keep on giving throughout the year -- home safety devices.

"Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers may not be exciting gifts to give, but these inexpensive gifts can provide a peace of mind that is priceless," said State Fire Marshal Ronald R. Farr. "So if you are looking for practical holiday gifts, consider items that will protect your loved ones from fire this holiday season and throughout the year."

Facts and figures to consider for seasonal safety:
  • December, January and February are the deadliest months for fires. 
  • The top 10 days for home fires in recent years were between December 24 and January 6. 
  • Cooking and heating are the leading causes of home fires in the months of December through February. 
  • Candle fires have nearly tripled in the past decade. Nearly twice as many home candle fires occur in December than any other month, perhaps because of holiday decorations and seasonal celebrations.


Farr said that although traditional, fire-burning candles are commonly given as gifts, a much safer alternative would be to give battery powered candles. Many types/styles are on the market that emit a comforting glow and can be even be found in various scents.

When purchasing life-saving gifts, be sure to look for the Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) label. The UL label means the device has passed certain safety tests.

Here are suggested gift items from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA): 

  • Carbon monoxide detectors -- to alert loved ones of a silent killer: carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas formed when fuels-such as natural gas, oil, and wood burn incompletely. While a carbon monoxide detector won't help keep your loved ones safe from fire, it's something you should consider for home safety. 
  • Smoke alarms -- are one of the best fire-safety items for the home. Seventy percent of all home fire fatalities occur in homes where there are no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Consider smoke alarms for everyone on your list. Smoke alarms for people who are deaf or hard of hearing include strobe lights, high decibels and/or vibration. All smoke alarms should be replaced after 10 years. 
  • Flashlights -- prevent fires by using flashlights instead of candles during power outages. - Sturdy candleholders -- help prevent tip-over when candles are lit. Lantern-style candle holders can reduce the likelihood of something coming in contact with a candle flame. 
  • A secure fireplace screen -- keeps embers out of the room. 
  • Long fireplace matches -- prevents burns. 
  • Gift certificates for clean-up services -- to remove fire-prone clutter from basements, attics or yards; or for chimney sweeps to prevent creosote build-up that can cause chimney fires. 
  • A bathrobe with tight-fitting sleeves -- that won't touch stove burners while cooking. 
  • Down or synthetic comforters, flannel sheets or flannel pajamas - to keep a loved one warm, and to reduce the need for space heaters, particularly at night. Generally, space heaters (fixed and portable) are involved in two-thirds of home heating fire deaths. 
  • Large, deep, non-tip ashtrays -- to help prevent smoking materials from igniting materials nearby. 
  • Portable fire extinguishers -- with safety tips on how to use them. Make sure the recipient reads and understands the instructions before having to use them. A multi-purpose and dry-chemical type is recommended. 
  • Fireproof oven mitts -- for stove or barbecue grill to help prevent burns. 
  • Large house numbers -- to help firefighters locate a home at night quickly during an emergency. 
  • Batteries for smoke alarms and flashlights.


Download loads of fire safety information-including home escape grids-from NFPA's website, at www.nfpa.org, or for children, try NFPA's www.sparky.org.

The Bureau of Fire Services wishes everyone a happy and safe holiday season. Visit the Bureau of Fire Services website at www.michigan.gov/bfsfor more fire safety information.

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