From 2015-2019, the U.S. fire departments said they have responded to at least 160 residential fires each year that started with Christmas trees.
It can only take minutes before heat fills a room in your house once your Christmas tree ignites. After a moment, it can travel to your staircase and second floor, possibly burning your entire property. Experts explain that these types of fires can be dangerous because of how much heat energy a tree emits. The temperature indoors makes it faster to rise.
If your Christmas holiday is not complete without a tree, consider these safety measures to keep fire risks at bay:
1. Choose a Fresh-Looking Tree
When buying a real Christmas tree, pick a tree with green needles, whatever type of tree you prefer. While fresh trees are less likely to catch fire, dry trees (usually with brownish needles) are more flammable.
You can identify a fresh tree with soft and flexible needles that don’t easily fall off. Fresh pine needles bend and do not break, while fir needles from a fresh tree crisply snap when you fold them. After you bring home your Christmas tree, continue testing its needles’ freshness until you decide to remove them when the holiday’s over.
2. Water Your Christmas Tree
Since dry Christmas trees can result in a disaster, consistently provide moisture to your tree. Did you know that a parched tree can burn faster than a newspaper? Also, if you put it in a stand, be sure that it has a big water reservoir. Note that a medium to large Christmas tree can consume up to a gallon o0f water a day.
Shake your Christmas tree now and then. If you see a lot of needles falling to the floor, it’s telling you that it’s not getting enough water.
3. Inspect Your Christmas Tree’s Lights
Faulty lights around your Christmas tree can cause the tree to ignite. Make sure that you buy high-quality Christmas lights. In addition, keep in mind that some lights are designed only for indoors or outdoors. Before using, examine the lights and look for broken bulbs, frayed wires, and loose connections. Have it replaced if you see any signs of damage.
Turn off your Christmas lights when you’re not around or even when sleeping. This is also helpful if you live with pets or small children at home. In addition to home fires, your trees can cause injuries. Click here for more tips in avoiding Christmas tree fire and injuries.
4. Keep Your Christmas Tree Away from Heat
The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) advises homeowners to put their Christmas trees at least 3 feet away from heat sources, including a fire palace, heat vents, or radiators. Most importantly, never use a lit candle to decorate your tree.
5. Remove Your Christmas Tree As Soon As the Holiday Is Over
Some people are too busy or simply forget to take down and properly dispose of their Christmas trees when the holidays are over. In some cases, homeowners fail to water their live Christmas trees that they forget to get rid of after the holidays.
In January 2020, firefighters responded to a fire that involved a dried Christmas tree in Annapolis. Though there were no reported injuries, the same disaster could claim lives and damage properties.
6. Choose a Suitable Spot for Your Christmas Tree
Avoid placing your trees near the stairs where fire can quickly spread and travel to bedrooms. The top of your vents is not also advisable. Aside from preventing your unit from circulating air inside your house, debris can also fall into the vents and become a fire hazard.
If you can’t place it on top of your vents, you shouldn’t put it under, either. The tree will dry out immediately, making it prone to fire.