“For every year the Christmas tree,
Brings to us all both joy and glee.
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
Such pleasure do you bring me!”
Indeed, this is the time of year that family and friends gather around a festively adorned evergreentree. It is the symbol of the holiday. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, there are approximately 25-30 million real trees cut down, placed in the home and decorated each year. In addition, approximately 10 million fake trees are sold each year.But this most beloved tradition can also turn into a potentially deadly disaster. The National Fire Protection Association reports that there is an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees each year.These fires resulted in an average of six deaths, 22 injuries and $18.3 million of property damage a year. Typical causes of Christmas tree fires:
- 32% caused by Electrical failures or malfunctions.
- 17% caused by some type of heat source was too close to the tree.
- 12% Decorative lights on line voltage.
- 7% started by candles.
Stay safe this year by following these helpful tips from the National Fire Protection Association:
Picking the tree
- Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
- If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
Placing the tree
- Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1″ – 2″ from the base of the trunk.
- 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.
Lighting the tree
- 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.
- 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.
From everyone at Walsh Woodard, LLC, have a safe and happy Holiday season.