Now that we’re nearing the end of November and the holiday season is in full swing, we wanted to bring up the issue of Christmas trees and fire safety. No one wants their house to burn down, especially during the holidays, but Christmas is one time of year that poses an increased fire risk in millions of homes across the country.
What is it that makes Christmas trees dangerous? What makes them a fire danger? Their branches? The fact that they’re trees that can catch fire? The fact that they’re often placed near blazing fire places? Is it because some people smoke cigars, cigarettes, and pipes near them? As a matter of fact, what makes them a fire hazard is electrical malfunctions and the fact that many of them are real, dying trees.
Causes of Christmas Tree Fires
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “More than one of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.” But that’s not all, heat sources are troublemakers as well. “A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four of the fires.”
As you decorate your home or business this holiday season, be aware of fire hazards and how Christmas trees can catch fire. Even a small fire on a Christmas tree can grow quickly, burning your whole house or business down.
Follow these Christmas tree safety tips:
- When you select a real tree, pick one with fresh, green needles.
- Before you place the tree in the stand, cut off 2 inches at the base of the trunk.
- At the bare minimum, keep the tree at least three feet away from any type of heat source, including a fireplace, candle, heat vent, or light.
- Do not place the tree somewhere where it will block an exit.
- Be sure to add water to the tree stand on a daily basis to help keep the tree moist.
- Do not use any lights with worn or broken cords.
- Do not use any lights with loose bulb connections.
- Do NOT use any candles to decorate the tree.
- As tempting as it may be, NEVER leave the lights on the Christmas tree “on” when you leave the house or go to bed.
And what about after Christmas? “Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home,” advises the NFPA.