Christmas Tree Safety
Thursday December 6, 2018
Although Christmas tree fires are not very common, they do happen, and when they do, they are more likely to be serious.
Are you one of those people who puts their tree up the day after Thanksgiving? Or maybe you’re family waits until the last minute? Artificial? Real? Douglas fir? White lights or color? Ahh! There are so many things to think about when Christmas rolls around and it’s time for the tree. According to the National Fire Protection Association, “Between 2012-2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 170 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 4 deaths, 15 injuries, and $12 million in direct property damage annually.” And although Christmas tree fires are not very common, they do happen, and when they do, they are more likely to be serious. The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency offers these few tips on keeping you and your family safe during the holiday season when it comes to your tree.
Picking the tree
- Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
Placing the tree
- Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2" from the base of the trunk.
- 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.
- Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
Lighting the tree
- Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer's instructions for number of light strands to connect.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Get rid of the tree after Christmas. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.