Christmas lights are lovely, but they don’t come without safety risks. The National Fire Protection Association says fire departments in the US responded to an average of 160 home fires every holiday season from 2014 through 2018, and lighting equipment and electrical distribution accounted for 45 percent of those fires.
To stay safe, experts say you should be sure to turn your Christmas lights off before bed and before you leave your home, look for lights labeled with UL, as this means they’ve been tested for fire safety, and also consider getting LED lights, which emit less heat than incandescent lights. Also, be diligent when hanging your lights—be sure not to misuse them or overload them.
As a general rule, fire safety experts recommend plugging in no more than three light strings at a time. You should also check the bulbs and wiring to make sure they are free of breaks or cracks before installation.