Your Christmas Tree Could be a Huge Fire Hazard!
Christmas trees are among the delightful things about the season, but many people don’t realize what fire hazards they are. When dried-out live Christmas trees burn, they become consumed in a flash, like a giant fireball—and the fire quickly spreads throughout the room it’s in. Artificial trees are considered by fire experts to be even more dangerous. Potential electrical issues with pre-lit trees increase the risk. Learn some tips for avoiding a flaming Christmas tree and more below.
A Revealing Fire Safety Survey
There is evidence that fire and burn safety needs greater attention during the Christmas season. Shriners Hospitals for Children treats children who have been burned, and the organization gets involved with fire safety. Shriners conducted a survey of adults in the U.S. and their practices. A number of common habits associated with activities common at Christmastime were revealed that could result in serious injuries, particularly for children. Of the individuals surveyed:
- 45% said that they don’t water their live Christmas tree every day, although 70% said they were aware it was an important thing to do.
- 27% leave lit candles within reach of kids.
- 25% leave unattended lit candles in their homes.
- 25% are not careful to turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so that children can’t reach them.
- 47% do not keep a pot lid, cookie sheet, or something similar nearby to be able to put out a fire when cooking.
Tips to Avoid a Live Christmas Tree Fire
Experts say the safest type of Christmas tree, as regards fire hazards, is a living tree that is cut down fresh. This is because trees are bursting with moisture, when first cut down. If you are not able to cut a tree down for Christmas, here are some tips for choosing a tree at a Christmas tree lot:
- Check the tree trunk for signs of stickiness, which is a good thing.
- Bend some limbs, to check for flexibility. If the limbs break off easily, the tree is already quite dry and not a good choice.
- Lift the tree a few inches and drop the trunk it to the ground, as a test. The tree is not fresh, if a lot of needles fall off.
Once you’ve found a live tree that isn’t dried out already, the following are steps to ensure that it doesn’t become a serious fire hazard:
- Cut about 2 inches off the bottom of the trunk. Exposing the meat of the trunk makes it possible for the tree to soak up water. If this step is skipped, the tree won’t be able to absorb up any moisture.
- Water the Christmas tree daily. This is an essential step in preventing a Christmas tree fire.
Artificial Christmas Tree Safety
Safety is not one of the reasons to choose an artificial tree. The NFPA says that even if a tree is flame retardant, it can still become engulfed in flames. The top fire prevention tip as regards an artificial tree is this:
Follow the instructions on the packing of Christmas tree lights, to determine how many light strands can be plugged into an outlet.
Pre-lit trees were formerly limited to 30 inches in height, for safety reasons. Due to the increased popularity of these types of trees, the safety requirements were adjusted to make room for larger pre-lit Christmas trees. If you have a pre-lit Christmas tree, place it in a well-ventilated area, to slightly reduce the chances that a potential fire will spread to more flammable objects.
Have a Safe Christmas Tree!
When you put up your Christmas tree lights and decorations, remember that electrical overloading is a major fire hazard. Don’t be a person who ends up with a burned Christmas tree, especially because of the risk of a house fire. Have a safe Christmas tree and Happy Christmas!