As you deck the halls this holiday season, be smart with your Christmas tree. During my Fire Service career, I recall responding to one or two tragic Christmas tree fires every year.
Good news – these fires are not common. Bad news – when they do occur, they spread very rapidly and quickly become extremely serious. Fifty percent of Christmas tree fires are tied to electrical problems or the tree being too close to a heat source. Smoke detectors and fire alarms functional?
Picking the tree
- Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
Placing the tree
- Before placing the tree in the stand cut 2” from the base of the trunk.
- Ensure 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 a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for a number of light strands to connect.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Please get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it becomes dry. Dried-out trees are a very serious 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.
I hope you all have a safe and Merry Christmas this holiday season.
-Frank Wampol, Vice President of Safety and Health