Every year, there are about 230 fires in homes across America that start with Christmas trees. Believe it or not- Christmas trees cause an average of 22 injuries, 6 deaths, and over 18 million dollars in property damage yearly, and these tragedies can last well past Christmas. The National Fire Protection Association released a report in November stating that 1 in every 40 home Christmas tree fires result in fatality. Electrical malfunctions and failures are the cause of about 1/3 of home Christmas tree fires. Christmas lights are the cause of 12% of these incidents, and 7% of these fires are started by candle.
Please read these tips to prevent Christmas tree fires and to keep you and your family safe during the holidays:
• Check your tree for signs of aging, and check its freshness. The greener the tree the better. The needles should be hard to pull out and the branches shouldn’t break when bent between your fingers. The base of the tree should be sticky due to resin. When lifted from the ground, a fresh tree shouldn’t lose a ton of needles.
• Keep your tree watered! Make sure the tree stand is filled, because the heat in your home will rapidly dry out your tree.
• Place the tree away from high traffic areas in your home. Do not block entrances/exits with your tree.
• Make sure your tree is away from your fireplace, furnace, radiators, & vents. The heat will dry it out, and increase the likelihood of a fire.
• Examine new and old lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed wires, or loose connections. Throw out your damaged lights.
• Make sure you turn off your lights before you retire for the night, and when you plan on leaving your home for an extended period of time.
• Inspect your extension cords. Make sure each cord is in good condition, and do not use frayed, or damaged cords.
• Keep candles away from your Christmas tree, and decor.
• When purchasing an artificial tree, keep an eye out for the label “fire resistant”. This does not mean that the tree will not catch fire, but that it will be less susceptible to catching fire.
As we approach the holidays, make sure to monitor the general condition of your tree. If you doubt its safety, set it outside, or dispose/recycle it. Your home and your family and pets around the tree are more important that the tree itself.
From everyone here at Putnam Record Agency, we wish you a safe, and happy holiday season!