While Christmas tree fires are uncommon, the ensuing damage can be severe. Also, did you know that half of the reported Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical malfunctions and heat sources? So, be very careful with your tree and tell your family to be vigilant, as well. Don’t let a fire or other dangers ruin your Christmas this year! Follow these Christmas tree safety tips to prevent fires and injuries in your home or business:
Christmas Tree Safety for Fires
- Choose a fresh tree. If you’re opting for a real Christmas tree, choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. Also, cut two inches from the base of the trunk before placing it in the stand. This allows the tree to better absorb water.
- Water the tree daily. This ensures the tree stays hydrated and prevents it from getting too dry and thus highly flammable. If your tree is about six feet tall, add about one gallon of water to the tree stand every day.
- If you use an artificial Christmas tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
- Place the tree away from heat. Keep the tree at a safe distance (at least three feet) away from any heat source, such as radiators, fireplaces, lights or candles.
- Keep the tree away from exits. Ensure the tree is not blocking exits or footpaths, so it won’t get knocked over. Also, make sure the tree is not blocking a fire exit.
- Use safe holiday lights. To decorate the tree, use only lights that are rated for indoor use. Also check for the label of an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL). In addition, consider that some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
- Before using lights, check the wires. Ensure there are no frayed wires, broken bulbs and cords, cracked sockets or loose bulb connections. Replace damaged lights. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of LED strands to connect.
- Don’t overload electrical outlets or extension cords. Plug lights into different circuits around your home.
- Turn off the Christmas lights when going to bed or leaving home.
- Never use burning candles to decorate a tree. Use battery-operated, flameless LED candles instead.
- Discard the tree after the holidays. After Christmas, or when the real tree dries out and starts dropping needles, discard it. Dry trees are a fire hazard, so don’t keep yours in the home or garage. Find a recycling program in your community.
- Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
- Invest in a Christmas tree safety system. For increased Christmas tree safety, consider purchasing a Christmas tree safety system. These devices warn you when there is low water in the tree stand or if a fire starts. Even if you use such a safety system, always make sure your smoke alarms are working and test them monthly.
Christmas Tree Safety: How to Prevent Injuries
Although fire accidents are the most common risks during the winter holidays, decorated Christmas trees present other dangers, too. Follow these Christmas tree safety precautions to avoid injuries:
- Use your metallic Christmas tree safely. If you have a metallic Christmas tree, never put electric lights on it to avoid the risk of electric shock. Don’t fasten colored spotlights onto metallic trees, either. Use them above or beside a tree to prevent the metallic tree from becoming charged with electricity from faulty lights.
- If you have small children:
- Avoid sharp or breakable decorations. Make sure children can’t reach trimmings that have small removable parts or resemble candy or food.
- Bubble lights on trees should be kept out of the reach of children. Curious kids can be tempted to break the glass, which can cut, and drink the liquid that contains dangerous chemicals.
- Decorate your tree using tinsel or artificial icicles made of plastic. Make sure the trimmings don’t contain lead, as this substance can be highly dangerous if ingested by children.
- Use nontoxic snow spray. Consider not using spun glass “angel hair” that can irritate your eyes and skin. If you use artificial snow spray, ensure that it is labeled nontoxic and follow container directions to prevent lung irritation.
- Protect your pets. Keep your pets safe by placing smaller and more fragile decorations at the top of the tree. Use appropriate wiring and unplug twinkling lights when pets are around. Don’t allow pets to chew on branches, as they may be coated with harmful sprays, such as insecticide, fertilizer or fire retardant.
- Use a stool or ladder. When decorating the higher limbs of the tree, use a sturdy step stool or stepladder to prevent falling accidents. Alternatively, ask someone to hold the stool or ladder for you while you are decorating. Christmas is about being together, afterall.
- Prevent mold on trees. Mold and mildew can be present on live Christmas trees and even on boughs and wreaths. To avoid this source of mold in your home, consider using artificial trees and decorations. If you still prefer live greenery, try hosing them down before bringing them inside to remove existing mold spores. Don’t keep the tree in your home for too long, as more time can allow mold to develop.
For professional fire damage restoration, contact the PuroClean mitigation experts!
Enjoy a safe holiday season by being vigilant of fire hazards in your home and following these Christmas tree safety tips. But, if a fire occurs on your property, fire damage restoration services are critical. Our PuroClean offices are present throughout the country and will come to your property’s rescue when you need them. For emergency smoke cleanup and fire damage repair, contact your local PuroClean office.