According to the United States Fire Administration, fires that occur during the holiday season claim the lives of over 400 people, injure 1,650 more, and cause over $990 million in damage. Since it can take less than 30 seconds for a dry Christmas tree to engulf a room with fire and for Christmas lighting to spark flames, we suggest following the holiday safety tips below.
Live Christmas Trees
- Once you get home be sure to saw a fresh cut from the base of your live Christmas tree. To minimize risk even further, buy a fresh tree with its needles still in places and water it everyday. Watering your live Christmas tree will reduce the risk, to almost impossible, of your tree igniting.
- Keep the tree away from any heat sources. Christmas trees should never be placed next to fireplaces or radiators. Also, keep the tree out of traffic areas so it won’t be easily knocked over. Live garlands and other holiday greenery need to be kept at least three feet away from heating sources as well.
- A well-watered tree will still dry out after about a month, so plan your Christmas tree buying accordingly and take it down after four weeks. If you want to keep your tree up after the New Year, we suggest buying a Christmas tree no earlier than the second week of December.
- Artificial trees pose fewer fire risks than real trees do; just be sure they are labeled as non-flammable.
Indoor and Outdoor Lighting
- Before lighting, be sure to inspect your string of light and throw out any with frayed or cracked wires or broken sockets.
- When decorating, don’t run more than three strings of lights end to end and use extension cords that are in good condition and UL-rated for indoor or outdoor use.If you plan to hang lights outside, do not use nails or staples because they can damage the wiring and increase the risk of a fire. Instead, use UL-rated clips or hangers.
- LED lights are much safer since they do not produce the level of heat that incandescent lights create. Using LED lights will significantly decreasing the risk of your tree catching on fire.
- Do not leave your indoor or outdoor Christmas lights on over night. If you want to keep them on past your bedtime, get a timer to turn them off automatically.
- Take down all lights down within 90 days.
For more holiday safety tips, click here.