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Safety Tips to Avoid Christmas Tree Fires

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Nov 08, 2013

christmas-tree-200x300With Thanksgiving coming up in the next few weeks and the stores already decorated for the holiday’s many homes that celebrate Christmas may be bringing home a Christmas tree in the coming weeks. Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season.

Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire. Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires result in 21 deaths and $25.2 million in direct property damage.

People’s Trust Insurance wants you and your family to be safe this holiday season.  Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy.  Help ensure that you have a fire safe holiday season by following these Christmas Tree tips:

  • If you are using an artificial tree (purchasing a new one or getting it out or storage) make sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
  • If you are picking a live tree, once you bring it home cut off about two inches of the trunk and put the tree in a sturdy, water-holding stand. Keep the stand filled with water so the tree does not dry out quickly.
  • Stand your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Make sure the tree does not block foot traffic or doorways.  
  • Only use indoor lights indoors (and outdoor lights only outdoors.)  Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Replace or repair any damaged light sets.  
  • Use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Extension cords should be placed against the wall to avoid tripping hazards, but do not run cords under rugs.    Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect. . Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Don’t add items to your tree that may melt from your lights - i.e.: candy canes (the plastic wrapper), chocolates, etc.
  • Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

Source: U.S. Fire Administration FEMA

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People’s Trust Insurance Company