Holiday & Seasonal

Fire Departments Warn About Elf On The Shelf Risks

Don't make this mistake with your own Elf!

Placing The Elf on the Shelf in unexpected locations provides fun to many families during the holidays.

But one fire department is warning families to be careful this holiday season after an Elf on the Shelf nearly caught fire after being placed too close to a heat source.

elf on the shelf photo
Flickr | Melissa Hillier

Fire Department Shares Warning

The Dublin (Ireland) Fire Department took to Twitter on Dec. 12 to warn people of the very real fire hazard.

“Close one for this #ElfOnAShelf after she ended up on a lamp. The householder had done the right thing & purchased one with a CE mark. The Elf resisted heat for 40 minutes. Keep all decorations away from heat,” the Dublin Fire Brigade wrote.

Luckily the family purchased an Elf with a CE mark which signifies that it complies with European safety standards. Had they chosen a different elf, things could have ended up differently.

Anyone who’s moved an elf throughout the month of December knows it can be hard to come up with new and creative places to set the little guy each day—and it’s easy to forget about fire safety in the process.

fire truck photo
Flickr | paul.orear

Other fire departments have been trying to spread the word as well, including the Barrie Fire Department in Canada.

The Ontario-based fire department shared photos of three elves with burn marks to illustrate their warning to keep the dolls away from anything hot.

The Elf on the Shelf is supposed to be fun and festive (and report back to Santa), not start fires. Make sure all your holiday decorations are kept safely away from lights, heat and any open flames.

After all, the only thing bottomless during the holiday season should be the eggnog!

How To Stay Safe During The Holidays

There are other ways to protect your home and your loved ones this Christmas season. Don’t let the holiday spirit override your good sense of judgment.

1. Only Use Approved Christmas Lights

Make sure you are using approved holiday lights such as U.L. listed versions, and that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how many strands should be connected. Sorry, Clark Griswold, your decorations probably wouldn’t make the safety cut!

christmas lights strand photo
Flickr | mccun934

2. Be Extra Careful With Real Trees

Decorating a live, cut tree ups your fire risk.

If you are using a real tree, make sure you keep it away from heat sources like fireplaces and heating vents. Make sure to turn tree lights off when you’re not around.

And don’t let the tree get too dried out—make sure to keep it watered throughout the holidays.

christmas tree home photo
Flickr | Joe Shlabotnik

3. Watch Your Candles

Candlelight casts a cheery holiday glow, but be sure to use caution with how and where you use candles.

If you’re using them on your table for Christmas dinner, don’t place them near other decorations that could knock into them. And be especially careful if you use them on a mantel or with other decor that uses live evergreen branches.

christmas candle photo
Flickr | Danilo Paissan

4. Be Careful Hanging And Taking Down Decorations

If you’re the one responsible for putting up and taking down Christmas lights, stay safe on those ladders! Grab a family member or neighbor to spot you if need be, and make sure you’re using the correct ladder for the job.

Better safe than sorry!

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