FDNY Fire Safety Education Unit’s Holiday Safety Tips

family holidaysDuring a recent interview with Lieutenant Anthony Mancuso, head of the FDNY’s Fire Safety Education Unit, we learned that the three major causes of residential fires during the holiday season are candles, cooking and electrical failure or malfunction.


According to the Lieutenant, cooking stands at the top of the list because it is the leading cause of fire-related residential property damage. Mancuso explained that unattended cooking is a major contributor to incidents- especially during this time of year. His advice for holiday chefs is to:

  • Never leave cooking  food unattended
  • Avoid distractions while cooking
  • Properly prepare and follow guidelines when deep frying turkeys or other foods

In the event of a kitchen fire it is important to:

  • Never use water to extinguish a grease fire
  • Use generous amounts of baking soda to extinguish small fires. Otherwise use a fire extinguisher (if available) and call 9-1-1 immediately.


While candles are aromatic and delightful, if not handled safely they can be dangerous. Lieutenant Mancuso recommends flame-less candles, “If aromatic candles are what you prefer, there are many flame-less candle brands that offer that option.” He added, “If you choose to use real candles, do not leave them unattended.”


When using electrical lights for decoration it is important to ensure that these products have been tested for safety. Look for UL or ETL listings or certifications on these devices. Without a UL or ETL label, you will not know how safe a product truly is. Other things to keep in mind are to never leave lights on while you are sleeping or not home and to use extension cords and power strips appropriately.

Lastly, Lieutenant Mancuso encourages residents to ensure that their smoke alarms are operational and to make certian batteries are changed as recommended. He also wants members of our community to keep in mind that following these very important tips can be the difference between life and death in some cases. The Fire Safety Education Unit of the FDNY recommends that everyone should visit http://www.fdnysmart.org/safetytips/ to learn more about fire safety.

Lieutenant Mancuso and the Fire Safety Education Unit of the FDNY wishes everyone, “A happy and safe holiday.”

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.