The Holiday Season is a joyful one; full of family and friends and decorations. It is a time for Christmas trees and wreaths, for garland and lights but it is also the time of year when your home is at a greater risk of catching on fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association:
- Between 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 210 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 7 deaths, 19 injuries, and $17.5 million in direct property damage annually.
- On average, 1 of every 31 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death.
- Electrical problems were factors in three out of 10 home Christmas tree structure fires.
It is not only important to make sure that your tree stays fresh, the drier the tree the faster and more likely it is to catch on fire, you also need to check your lights to make sure that there is no damage to the chord. One small exposed wire could send your home up in smoke.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your tree green and your home fire free.
- Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
- Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
- Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
Even if you take all of these steps sometimes accidents happen, so make sure your home is insured for the full replacement value. You do not want to be left out in the cold this holiday season.