Red Cross provides lifesaving tips as volunteers help people displaced in local fires

Red Cross offers advice for avoiding holiday fires

We often tell you about how many people the Red Cross is helping after a fire. The agency is sharing tips on how to avoid one happening to you.

The American Red Cross is sharing tips on how to avoid a fire as families gather indoors for the holiday this weekend.

The Red Cross Eastern New York Region covers 27 counties.

According to Disaster Public Affairs Volunteer Partner Mary Alice Molgard, the agency has been notified of four fires in the Capital Region just since Thursday. The exact causes were not immediately clear, but officials report an uptick in holiday decoration-related fires as well as space heater and wood stove fires this time of year.

The Red Cross provided the following tips:

HOLIDAY DECORATING SAFETY TIPS Follow these safety tips and visit for more information. You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency app by searching “American Red Cross” in app stores.  

  • If you must use candles, keep them away from anything that could burn, and place them out of reach of pets and children. Never leave burning candles unattended.  
  • Check all holiday light cords to ensure they aren’t frayed or broken. Don’t string too many strands of lights together — no more than three per extension cord.   
  • Ensure outside decorations are for outdoor use and fasten lights securely to your home or trees. If using hooks or nails outside, make sure they are insulated to avoid an electrocution or fire hazard.  
  • If buying an artificial tree, look for a fire-resistant label. When putting it up, keep it away from fireplaces, radiators and other sources of heat. Never use electric lights on metallic trees.  
  • If getting a live tree, make sure it’s fresh and keep it watered. To test if the tree is fresh, bend the needles up and down to make sure no needles fall off.   
  • Don’t light the fireplace if hanging stockings or other decorations on the mantel. 

Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year. Do You Need Working Smoke Alarms? With the support of local volunteers and partners, the Red Cross can help. Learn more and request a home visit: 

The Red Cross dispatches an action team to a fire to assess a family’s need. People who need assistance can also call (518)-458-8111.