At one point, in the 1980’s, Christmas tree fires were a much more common occurrence. Fire statistics report a much better improvement, but having a Christmas tree on fire is still a household holiday safety issue. Families should be aware of the dangers associated with purchasing a tree and how to prevent a Christmas tree fire hazard happening in their own home. Educate your children about the hazards, prevent fires and know the warning signs.
Christmas tree fires are more dangerous than most people realize. Oftentimes, they happen while families are out of town for the holidays or asleep in the home. Some Christmas tree fires are even associated with a death of a loved one. The holiday season is joyous and you want to do your best to prevent a tree hazard from occurring in your home.
How Does A Christmas Tree Fire Start? If your Christmas tree dies before Christmas Day, there are a few things you can do to try and save it. However, once a tree is dead and dry, you’re already at risk for a fire in your home. Typically, Christmas tree fires are the result of a dry (dead) tree next to an electrical source. That electrical source puts off heat and a close tree will catch on fire.
How To Prevent A Christmas Tree Fire Hazard
Every single year our family takes these simple precautions to prevent our real Christmas tree from catching on fire. Some of these tips only take a few minutes to complete, but can prevent the loss of house or a loved one.
Check Your Electrical Christmas Lights
When you’re ready to decorate your Christmas tree, check the lights. Are they frayed or have water damage? You can see if any rodents gnawed on the lights – like if they’re stored in an attic. Any exposed wiring means you’ll have to toss the entire strand of lights. Cracked cords also pose a risk and should be thrown out too.
Replace Christmas Light Strand Bulbs
For less than $15, you can purchase a Christmas Light Repair Gun from Amazon. It will help you check for bulbs that aren’t working properly and replace them. Make sure you replace any broken bulbs with the proper wattage. Read the owner’s manual, if you still have it, to make sure you’re replacing them the correct way. When you plug in your strands, touch them. Nothing should be hot!
Water, Water and Water Your Tree
I can’t stress the importance of watering your real Christmas tree on a daily basis. A tree can consume up to one gallon of water every day. Make sure your pets aren’t drinking the Christmas tree water and you check the water levels daily. You can also purchase some Christmas Tree Nutrients to help it last longer before dying.
Unplug Lights Before Heading To Bed
This is so simple and people don’t do it, because they love to see the look of the Christmas tree lights at night. Get your whole family into the habit of unplugging your Christmas tree lights before bedtime.
Preventing A Christmas Tree Fire When On Vacation
If you’re leaving town and have a Christmas tree up in your home, it’s worth asking a neighbor to come water your tree while you’re gone. A real tree lacking water could cause it to die sooner and be a fire hazard. Also, unplug your lights before heading out of town.
Remove Surrounding Fire Hazards Away From The Tree
Any extensions cords shouldn’t be touching branches or tree skirts. You also want to ensure your tree placement isn’t near any heat sources. Don’t place your Christmas tree near a vent (where heat comes out) and keep space heaters away from the tree.
Are Artificial Trees Safer Than Real Trees For Fire Hazards?
Technically, due to the 10 seconds of being engulfed in flames, a real tree is more hazardous than an artificial one. That doesn’t mean that artificial trees can’t catch fire either. They both present holiday hazards when they aren’t maintained properly. They do make flame-resistant artificial Christmas trees nowadays, but ANY tree near a heat source is at risk of catching on fire.
As always, make sure your family has a fire safety plan that you practice on a daily basis – check out the Family Fire Safety Plan Guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association. Regularly replace your fire and smoke detectors in your home. You CAN have a safe Christmas and prevent all Christmas tree fire hazards in your home.