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Holiday Season Myths

Throughout the next few months, your calendar is likely filled with holiday celebrations. Whether you’re observing Hanukkah or Christmas, or planning a blowout New Year's Eve party, your holiday season is bound to be busy. We hope everyone enjoys their holiday celebrations to the fullest, and to help you make the best choices this winter, we want to dispel some of the myths and misgivings before the holidays get underway.

Myth: “It’s alright to disable my smoke alarm in the kitchen if I’m still in the house.”

Fact: Disabling your smoke alarm isn’t a good idea. A third of Americans involved in kitchen fires reported that they had intentionally disabled their smoke alarms because they didn’t want it to go off and turn out to be a false alarm. Had their smoke alarms been in operation, those people could’ve avoided catastrophe. The best course of action is to make sure that you have an operational smoke alarm, and to check on your food regularly if you need to perform other tasks.

Myth: “The candles look so pretty lit up in the window. I want to leave them lit overnight.”

Fact: The candles may look beautiful, but the high likelihood of them causing a fire if left unattended should discourage anyone from leaving them out. Candles cause 38 percent of the home decoration fires that happen in December.  Keep an eye out on your candles, and make sure they are out of reach of children and pets.

Myth: “I forgot to get cranberries! I can run out and keep the turkey cooking in the oven, no problem.”

Fact: Many people step out to take a phone call or run errands, only to come back to a kitchen in flames. This happens because people either lose track of the time, allowing food to burn and catch on fire, or because there are things near the stove that ignite, creating a domino effect of items igniting. If you need to perform other tasks around the house, check on what’s cooking regularly, and if you need to leave the house unattended for any period of time, turn off your oven, stove, and any other appliances that may cause a fire.

Myth: “Molly’s gingerbread house would look great in the kitchen, wouldn’t it?”

Fact: Molly’s gingerbread house would look great in the kitchen, but take caution in where you place it. Tabletops and counter space away from the stove are great places to leave décor, but avoid leaving items like decorations, wooden cooking utensils, and food wrappers and packaging near stovetops, as mentioned in the last myth. Décor left too close to a heat source results in 45 percent of decoration fires and one-fifth of all decoration fires start in the kitchen.  Another way to prevent decoration fires is to invest in flame retardant décor.  Twinkle lights, synthetic Christmas trees, ornaments, and other decorations are readily available made with flame retardant materials.


  • Print and hang the “Celebrate Safely” graphic in your home.
  • Take time to discuss fires safety tips with your family.
  • Ensure that your home is adequately equipped with smoke detectors and extinguishers (Click here to tweet this).
  • Follow @amchemistry for fire safety tips throughout this holiday season (Click here to tweet this).
  • Share fire safety tips with #celebratesafely.
  • Visit the American Red Cross Fire Prevention page to learn more about preparing your home and family in the case of a home fire.