When it comes to Christmas decorating, a Christmas tree full of lights and ornaments is often the first thing that comes to mind. Did you know, though, that according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), 200 home fires were started by Christmas trees between the years of 2011 and 2015? Some of you might be familiar with this scene from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
Whether you’re going with a real tree or an artificial tree this year, keep in mind these important fire safety tips to protect you and your loved ones this Christmas season.
- Maintain your detectors. Now is the perfect time of year to do a test of all of your smoke detectors to make sure they are in working order. If you don’t have smoke detectors throughout your house, do yourself a favor and buy some with some of that holiday cash.
- Choose a quality tree. While it may seem cute to let your children pick out that Charlie Brown Christmas tree, we wouldn’t recommend it. Trees that are starting to turn brown or lose their needles are much more likely to catch fire than fresh, healthy trees.
- Check your lights. Electrical or lighting issues were involved in 40% of all reported tree fires, so watch out for frayed wires, sparks, or any other signs of wear when it comes to your Christmas tree lights.
- Don’t leave lights on. Another good idea when it comes to lighting is to turn off your Christmas tree lights when you’re not in the room. Make it a habit to shut off the lights, especially when you’re going to bed or leaving home.
- Keep your distance. 80% of Christmas tree fire deaths were due to the tree being too close to a candle flame or other heat source, such as a fireplace, radiator, or hot light. It’s always best to keep your tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. A hydrated tree is much more difficult to catch on fire and will not burn as quickly as an unwatered tree. Just watch this video from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and you can see how quickly an unwatered Christmas tree can become engulfed in flames. This is also why it is important to remove your tree promptly after Christmas before it continues to dry out.
- Give your tree a trim. Cutting off the bottom 2 inches of your tree’s base will allow your tree to soak in as much water as possible while it is in its stand. This extends the life of your tree and keeps it from drying out and becoming a potential fire hazard.
- Watch for recalls. Over the years a number of pre-lit artificial Christmas trees have been recalled due to electrical shocks and fires. It’s important to keep an eye out for any product recalls like this one.
Whether you like an immaculately decorated tree or a hodge podge tree of homemade ornaments, these tips will help you to keep your tree and your home safe this holiday season.
In the case of a fire-related injury, contact Boughter Sinak, LLC right away to see if you are eligible for a product liability or burn claim. As always, evaluations are free!