Winter Holiday Safety & Preparedness

It also means more cooking, home decorating, entertaining, and an increased risk of fire due to heating equipment. The York County Department of Fire and Life Safety would like to help every household be prepared and safe during this winter holiday season. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

  • On average, 1 of every 18 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 141 total reported home fires.
  • 42% of home Christmas tree structure fires occurred on the 12 days from December 23 through January 3.
  • During 2005-2009, an estimated 12,860 home structure fires started by candles were reported to local fire departments. These fires resulted in an estimated 136 civilian deaths, 1,041 civilian injuries and an estimated direct property loss of $471 million.
  • 2 of every 5 reported home fires start in the kitchen -- more than any other place in the home.
  • Half of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February in 2005 to 2009.
  • Holiday or other decorative lights with line voltage were involved in an average of 150 home structure fires per year, resulting in an average of 8 civilian deaths, 14 civilian injuries, and $8.5 million in direct property damage.
  1. Winter Weather Preparedness
  2. Holiday Lights
  3. Christmas Tree Fires
  4. Holiday Entertaining

Snow & Ice Preparedness

During the winter months, keep an eye on the local weather forecasts. When the forecast calls for severe winter weather, be sure to monitor your local radio, TV or NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio for the most up to date information. Listen for winter-related watches and warnings, and be ready to take action. When the weather turns cold, make sure that your vehicles' gas tanks are kept full to prevent freezing of gas lines. Also, propane and oil tanks used for power and heating should be kept stocked.

When a Winter Weather Advisory is Issued:

  • Winter weather conditions are expected to cause difficulty and might be dangerous.
  • These situations should not become life-threatening as long as caution is taken.

When a Winter Storm Watch is Issued:

  • Severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow or ice, are possible within the next day or two.
  • Prepare now. Make sure your disaster supply kits are fully stocked and that all vehicles are fueled up and winterized (with antifreeze, etc.).
  • Be sure animals or livestock are in a warm, dry place.

When a Winter Storm Warning is Issued:

  • Severe winter conditions have begun or are about to begin in your area.
  • Stay indoors if possible. Travel only if absolutely necessary.
  • When a blizzard warning is issued, snow and strong winds will combine to produce a blinding snow with near zero visibility, deep drifts and life-threatening wind chill.
  • Stay indoors if possible and travel only if absolutely necessary.