Christmas is traditionally one of the happiest times of the year, especially for families with young children eager to see what presents Santa is going to leave for them beneath the Christmas tree. Unfortunately for a few families, their Christmas dreams will be dashed by a house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments typically respond to 200 home fires annually that began with Christmas trees. Even one Christmas-related fire is too many. By following a few simple precautions, you will greatly reduce your family’s risk of experiencing a fire this Christmas season.
- If you purchase a live tree, cut it yourself so you know for a fact it’s fresh. If you prefer the convenience of picking up a tree from a Christmas tree lot, be sure and check the needles before selecting your tree. You will want to choose a tree with needles that still look fresh and green and don’t shed easily.
- Keep the tree stand filled with water to prevent the tree from prematurely drying out.
- Don’t place your tree too close to a heating source. Nearly a quarter of all fires involving Christmas trees occurred because the tree was placed too close to a heat source within the home.
- Inspect any electrical decorations carefully before trimming your tree. Carefully inspect Christmas lights for any exposed wires or other issues before putting them on your tree. If any seem damaged, throw them out. Electrical failures or malfunctions were involved in nearly half of all Christmas tree fires. This included both real and artificial trees, so even if you use a non-live tree, still take the same precautions as you would with a live one.
- Never leave your Christmas tree lights on when no one is home and be sure to turn them off at night before bedtime.
- Keep any festive holiday candles a safe distance away from your Christmas tree, furniture and curtains.
- Don’t try to extend the Christmas season into the New Year. The National Fire Protection Association strongly recommends you do not keep a tree in your home for any longer than 4 weeks. Trees become quite dry by the 4-week point, even if you are diligent about putting fresh water in the stand.
By taking these simple precautions you should be able to avoid any holiday-related fires, but accidents do happen. Should you or someone you know experience fire or smoke damage, contact the fire restoration experts at Octagon Cleaning & Restoration. In Maine give us a call at (207) 893-0002. Live in New Hampshire? You can reach us at (603) 239-2100.