This year I’m not in charge of the Christmas tree. I’m a little sad because I loved my tree from last year; which of course was artificial. This year we’ll have a live tree, I had to do my research on preventing house fires that spark most during this time of year. According to the US Fire Administration Christmas trees account for 250 fires annually, resulting in 14 deaths, 26 injuries and more than $13.8 million in property damage. Typically shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires. Well-watered trees are not a problem. Dry and neglected trees can be.
So here are some helpful tips from the US Fire Administration on keeping your family safe this holiday season.
- When picking your tree make sure the needles are green and hard to pull back from the branches. The needles should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. To check that the tree isn’t old bounce the tree trunk on the ground if needles fall off the tree is old. Move on.
- Once you get your lovely fresh find home put it in the stand with water and be sure NOT to put the tree by heat. I know most of our homes/apartments have radiators by the window which is a prime placement for our tree but safety first. Don’t put it there, find another spot that will still allow you to show off your decorating skills.
- Before you decorate your tree please check your holiday lights. Make sure there aren’t any frayed wires, bare spots, broken or cracked sockets or any damage to the strand of lights. This will cause a fire. After you’ve confirmed their safety (or purchased new lights) do not overload electrical outlets.
- When adding ornaments be sure they are non flammable. Stay away from any paper ornaments if you can I know your little cutie made the sweetest paper plate ornament at school, place it somewhere else in the house. Maybe on the fridge or on top of the mantel.
- water your tree every night and do NOT leave the lights on over night. When you turn out the kitchen light for the night. Turn off the tree lights as well.
Check the US Fire Administration site for more tips on fire safety (they have some good video’s as well) and read some of these Christmas Tree Myths over at the Christmas Tree Association (yes, there is a Christmas Tree Association).