A not so gentle reminder about maintaining your Christmas tree
I admit that in Christmas’ past we have neglected our tree by not giving it enough water. Even to the point of having a dry, crackly monument to the season in our living room by Jan 1st. This dramatic clip illustrates what happens when fire touches a dry tree and a properly maintained, well-watered tree. I promise to never neglect my tree again!
Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires annually. Typically, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires. Well-watered trees are not a problem. A dry and neglected tree can be.
Facts about home holiday fires
- One of every three home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems.
- Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires.
- A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every six of Christmas tree fires.
- More than half (56%) of home candle fires occur when something that can catch on fire is too close to the candle.
- December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 11% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.
Source: National Fire Protection Association
Holiday Fire Safety and Your Tree
If you must purchase your tree from a lot, do this test – take hold of a branch and lightly pull your hand toward you allowing the branch to slip through your fingers. Most, if not all, of the needles need to stay on the tree.
Don’t be afraid to ask the tree lot attendant when the trees were cut. I live in the Christmas tree capital of Oregon and I can tell you, they’ve been cutting trees around here since mid November.
In your home, place the tree away from sources of heat. That means not only the fire place but TV’s and furnace air ducts too.
Use only non-flammable decorations. This may be hard if you have some family heirlooms that you use to decorate. Consider placing these on a separate display away from the tree.
Use only purchased lighting recognized by Underwriters Laboratory (UL)
We reuse our lights each year. Lay them out and be sure to inspect your lights for frayed wire or other defects before use.
Do not leave your Christmas lights on unattended.
Keep natural tree stands filled with water at all times. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.
Do a fire drill and refresh the family on the home fire escape plan you’ve created. What! No plan? Now is the prefect time to create one and brush up on how to use a fire extinguisher and the PASS rules.
Follow these simple holiday fire safety guidelines and be safe and happy this holiday season. Don’t let a holiday tree fire ruin your festivities!
Shared with: – Natural Family Friday –