Christmas trees play a key role during the holiday season in many households. While there are a lot of things to love about this type of Christmas decor, it’s important to be aware of potential hazards. Not only can a real or artificial tree be dangerous to pets if they chew on it, but Christmas trees can also increase the risk of a house fire. Statistics show that hundreds of fires are attributed to indoor Christmas trees each year.
As with other potential indoor fire hazards like candles, the good news is you don’t have to choose between enjoying decor that’s special to you and keeping your home safe. Instead, as long as you follow a handful of safety tips, you can help prevent your tree from causing a fire.
To enjoy your holiday tree and keep your home safe, here are the seven tips to keep in mind throughout this season:
If you want to have an artificial tree in your home, be sure to pick one that has a flame retardant label or certification on it.
If you’re going with a live tree, it’s best to look for a fresh one. This means a tree with green needles that don’t immediately fall out when shaken. Brown needles are almost always a sign that a tree is dry and much more likely to catch fire.
Regardless of whether you ultimately choose an artificial or live tree, you’ll want to leave three feet of space between it and any heat source in your home. Examples of heat sources include lights, radiators, fireplaces and candles.
Placing your tree in a room with a door that leads outside? Make sure the tree doesn’t block that exit so everyone will be able to get through it in the event of an emergency.
Prior to putting a real tree in its stand, trim around half of an inch from the base. You’ll then want to get the tree in water as soon as possible. The rule of thumb for how much water is one quart of water for every inch of the stem’s diameter.
When you start decorating your tree, avoid connecting more than 3 strands together. You’ll want to check all wires for signs of fraying. And if you’re buying any new lights or decorations, be sure to go with flame retardant options.
Make sure you always check that the tree’s lights are turned off when you leave your house or go to bed. You can actually use a timer to automate this process at night.
By following those seven tips for choosing and decorating your tree, you can minimize it as a fire threat. And if you want to have peace of mind about other types of fires or circumstances you may not be able to prevent, learn how we can help you protect your family with Cincinnati home insurance.