TAMARAC, FL--(Marketwire - December 1, 2010) - Holiday celebrations are often accented with the glow of candles and twinkling holiday lights. Parties and gatherings of friends and family bring multiple rooms of your home into use at one time, and the kitchen in particular is working overtime. Unfortunately, the combination of crowds, flickering candles, overloaded electric circuits, elaborate meals and a festive mood can quickly ignite into a holiday fire.

"We know that the number of home fires increases as the holidays grow near," says Steve Leger, Executive Vice President of Operations for PuroClean, a leader in property damage restoration. "We see the aftermath of these tragedies, and we know that the best way to avoid having to call on a restoration specialist is to take steps to prevent the fire from starting."

Statistics compiled by the U.S. Fire Administration show that holiday fires kill more than 400 people in the U.S. each year and injure another 1,650. Damage from these fires exceeds $990 million. The culprit in many of these fires is either candles or holiday lights, according to The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Thirteen percent of home candle fires in the U.S. occurred in December, which is 1.6 times the monthly average of eight percent. Decorative holiday lights are implicated in an average of 170 home fires each year, representing seven deaths, 17 injuries and $7.9 million of the holiday fire damage total. The numbers are similarly disturbing in Canada, where Fire Prevention Canada declares candles to be one of the major causes of home fires, especially during the winter and Christmas holidays.

PuroClean experts want to help homeowners stop fire before it starts this holiday season. These tips can help you keep the holidays bright and safe this year.

Live Tree Safety

  • Select a fresh tree, with needles that cling tightly to the branches. To check for freshness, thump the tree trunk firmly on the ground. If needles rain down, pick another tree.
  • Keep your tree watered throughout the holiday season. If the tree dries out, discard it.
  • Don't place your tree near sources of ignition, like fireplaces and heaters.

Holiday Light Safety

  • Inspect lights every year for frayed wires, bare spots and damaged sockets. Don't run wires under rugs or carpets that might hide damage. Use lights that have been certified by an accredited testing laboratory.
  • Don't string more than three strands of lights together, unless the manufacturer specifically says it is safe to do so.
  • Always turn off your holiday and tree lights when you leave the house or go to bed.

Candle Safety

  • Select sturdy, non-flammable candle holders that cannot easily be knocked or tipped over and place them on non-flammable surfaces, away from flammable items such as decorations, curtains and Christmas trees.
  • Extinguish taper candles when two inches of wax remains; snuff out container candles when wax burns down to 1/2 inch.
  • Do not leave candles burning in an empty room, when you leave your home or when you go to bed.

"If a fire should break out, a properly installed and functioning smoke detector may save your life and the lives of your family," Leger states. "Install approved smoke alarms on every level of your home, and keep them equipped with fresh batteries. Make sure that you have an up-to-date emergency exit plan, and practice it with your family regularly."

Leger adds that PuroClean professionals are on call 24 hours a day, even on holidays, if your home is damaged by a fire. "It's important to call a restoration professional as soon as possible after the fire," says Leger. "We can help you minimize claims for property and possessions by responding immediately to fire and smoke damage."

For more information about PuroClean, please visit www.puroclean.com.

About PuroClean®
PuroClean is a leader in property damage restoration and has earned the trust of property owners, insurance professionals and home service providers throughout the United States and Canada since 2001. Backed by a comprehensive network of over 300 franchise offices and a national training and franchise support center, each PuroClean office responds promptly to property emergencies, demonstrating a high degree of professionalism and compassion. PuroClean technicians are thoroughly screened, insured and trained in utilizing the latest in mitigation technology and procedures throughout the remediation process while operating under a strict code of ethics. In addition to serving the needs of property owners, PuroClean offers hundreds of Continuing Education classes each year to insurance professionals and property service providers nationwide. In 2009, PuroClean trained over 10,500 insurance professionals nationwide, helping them earn their Continuing Education credits. For more information on PuroClean, please visit www.puroclean.com