How To Prevent A Christmas Tree Fire This Holiday Season
A cheerfully decorated Christmas tree is a holiday staple. Whether you’re bringing a real or an artificial tree into your home this year, you should take the necessary precautions to avoid a Christmas tree fire. Winter is the most common season for house fires, and the holidays are an even riskier time than usual. Nothing adds joy to a Milwaukee night quite like a lit-up Christmas tree, so be sure to follow these tips to keep your home and family safe while you enjoy this treasured holiday tradition.
Tips for Christmas Tree Fire Prevention
The Fresher the Better
If you’re purchasing a real tree, look for one that has green, intact needles. When you give the tree a shake, no or very few needles should fall off. If the tree loses needles when you shake or touch it or if the tree is beginning to brown, it is dry enough to pose an increased fire risk. You don’t know how long a tree has been cut for or where it came from, so if possible, ask! If a tree was cut just a day or two ago, it should still be fresh. If you’re cutting a tree yourself, keep in mind that even trees still in the ground can be dry, so examine the tree before cutting.
Freshly cut Christmas trees require a bit of maintenance to keep them both attractive and safe, including adding water to your tree stand daily. This will keep the tree fresh for much longer. A dried-out tree is more combustible and poses a greater fire risk, so be sure to always keep water in your tree stand and to choose a stand that can hold plenty of water to avoid dry-out.
Don’t leave a lit-up tree unattended—be sure to turn the lights out when you leave home and overnight. While holiday lights are designed to emit very little heat, a faulty string of lights could ignite a tree. Older strings of lights may be worn out and could cause a spark that starts a fire, so replace worn-out lights with high-quality new ones. Avoid the use of extension cords when plugging in lights. Try a power strip with an on/off switch to make turning off your lights even easier!
Keep It Cool
Heat and Christmas trees don’t mix. Be sure to keep your tree away from heat sources to prevent a fire. If you have a fireplace, set up the tree on the other side of the room or in a different room, and be sure to use a fire screen to prevent stray sparks from escaping. Do not burn candles or incense near a Christmas tree, or use a space heater nearby. Avoid placing your tree close to vents and radiators. While not likely to ignite your tree, these heat sources will dry the tree out more quickly, increasing the likelihood that it could catch fire.
Be Ready To Act
Emergencies happen when we least expect them, and it’s important to be ready to act fast in case of fire. Make sure your smoke detectors have new batteries, and keep a fire extinguisher in your home and know how to use it. Christmas tree fires can spread quickly and cost lives. Make an evacuation plan with your family in the event that the worst should happen.
Artificial Tree Safety
While artificial trees may seem like fool-proof alternatives to the fire risks of a real tree, pretend pines have their own problems. For the best protection, follow these artificial tree-specific safety recommendations:
- Look for an artificial tree that contains flame-retardant. Artificial trees without flame retardants are more likely to catch fire.
- Keep track of how long you’ve had your artificial tree. If it’s been 7-10 years, flame retardants may have worn off, which means it’s time for a replacement.
- Store the artificial tree in the box it came in with its label, instructions, and warning information. Write the year you purchased it on the box.
- If your artificial tree has electrical components like built-in lights, inspect it carefully for worn or fraying cords or wires, which could cause a fire.
When it comes to a Christmas tree fire, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. At Kelmann Restoration, we care about the well-being of you and your family and encourage you to prioritize prevention to avoid a dangerous situation this holiday season. We’re always here to help you through the hard times that come your way, so if you’re facing the aftermath of an emergency, call Kelmann today to find out what we can do to serve you.