How to Avoid Christmas Tree Fires

realtreedecoratedNothing lights up a home around the holidays than a bright, festive Christmas tree in your living room. While everyone wants a beautiful tree, it is important to take safety precautions for setting up real and fake trees. Did you know that between 2007-2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 230 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 6 deaths, 22 injuries, and $18.3 million in direct property damage annually. Not what you want your mind on during the holiday season.  Unfortunately electrical problems were factors in one-third of home Christmas tree structure fires.

 

 

Christmas tree fires are very dangerous. On average, one of every 40 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, afterxmastreefirecompared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires.  And 2 out of 5 of every five  home Christmas tree fires (39%) started in the living room, family room, or den. Exactly the places your family gathers.  We here at Hawkeye want you to be sure to be safe and aware of potential hazards when putting up and placing Holiday decorations. So here are some safety tips when dealing with Christmas trees in your home this holiday season.

 

Be fire smart!

If choosing a real tree…

  • xmastree7sec.Choose a tree with fresh green needles that do not fall off when touched
  • Cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk before setting up
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Use only  indoor safety tested lights
  • Keep regularly watered
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Dispose of promptly; dried out trees are a HUGE fire hazard!

If putting up an artificial tree...

  • be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

And of course as always make sure your smoke detectors are in proper working order!

 

Source:

http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fire-causes/holiday/christmas-tree-and-holiday-lights