Who hasn’t seen the scene in National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation” where the family is sitting down to dinner and all of a sudden in the background the family Christmas tree bursts into flames?
While this scenario is amusing in the movies, it would be less comical in our own homes this holiday season.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that while Christmas tree fires are less common than non-tree related home fires, on average one of every 40 reported home Christmas tree fires result in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires.
Whether you will be decorating an artificial or a fresh cut tree this holiday season, here are some easy tips to keep your tree looking its best and making sure that the biggest excitement this season will be time spent with family and gifts under the tree, courtesy of the NFPA…
-When picking out a tree, look for one with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
-Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1- 2” from the base of the truck
-Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents, lights (or smoking relatives!)
-Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit
– Be sure to add water to the tree stand daily
-Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when the tree becomes dry. Dried out trees are fire hazards and should not be stored in the garage or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a place to discard your tree.
-Make sure it is labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant
-Replace any strings of lights with worn, broken cords or loose bulb connections.
-Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.
-Always check to make sure that you are only using indoor light indoors
-Always turn off Christmas lights (indoor and outdoor) when leaving home or going to bed.
For more information regarding Christmas tree safety, check out NFPA.org