The Christmas holidays are one of the most exciting times of the year, full of good cheer, family get-togethers, and spending quality time with friends and acquaintances. Choosing a Christmas tree often brings back memories of Christmas’ past with families decorating the tree as one of the magical highlights of the holiday season.
Christmas Tree Fire Statistics
Selecting and decorating the perfect tree plays an important role in the holiday experience, but caring for your tree is just as important to ensure that your family is kept safe during the Christmas season. Although an uncommon event, a Christmas tree that is not correctly cared for and maintained could become a potential fire hazard within your home or business. Christmas tree fires are responsible for causing serious damage resulting in millions of dollars in repairs to residential and commercial properties within the United States each year.
Christmas Tree Fire Prevention; Water is Key
According to the knowledgeable professionals at Milam’s Tree Service there are several simple tasks that you can perform to reduce the risk of a Christmas tree related fire in your home. When a Christmas tree is cut, more than half the weight of the tree is water. While your real Christmas tree cannot spontaneously combust, it can act as a conduit if it is allowed to become dry and brittle. However, with the proper care, you can maintain the quality and safety of your tree throughout the holiday season!
How to Choose & Care for Your Freshly Potted Christmas Tree
When selecting your tree, look for a tree with flexible needles and a trunk with sap. You should be able to gently tap the tree on the ground without the tree losing any of its needles. The fresher the tree, the less likely it be that the tree will pose any type of fire hazard. Keep your tree outside in an area with plenty of air flow in a bucket of water until you are ready to decorate. Cut approximately one inch off the trunk of your tree to ensure maximum water absorbency. Check the water level of your tree stand daily, your tree stand should hold one gallon of water or more and should be sturdy enough that pets cannot knock the tree or the stand over.
Keep Your Christmas Tree Away from Heat
Keep your Christmas tree away from any sources of heat such as your fireplace, space heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight and, even your television set to slow the tree from drying out and becoming a potential fire hazard. Use Christmas lights that have cool-burning bulbs that have been safety tested. Never use lights with frayed and damaged cords. Don’t overload electrical circuits. As a general rule, keep a maximum of three strings of lights plugged into each extension cord. Place the cords along the wall to prevent them from becoming a trip/slip hazard. Always turn your Christmas tree lights off when you are away from home or retiring for the evening. Keep a fire extinguisher close by in case of emergencies. Make sure that everyone in the home is aware of its location and how to use it correctly.
Additional Home Safety Tips to Keep Your Family Safe During the Holiday Season
• Perform a safety check on your fire/smoke alarm to ensure that it is operating correctly
• Only use lights that are designed for outdoor use on the exterior of your home
• Never use light strings that are worn or damaged
• Never use an extension cord designed for indoor use, outdoors
• Avoid overloading extension cords and wall outlets
• Make sure that you properly extinguish any fireplace ashes before leaving your home or going to bed
• Make sure that you have at least one carbon monoxide detector within in the home