It’s that time of year again, so allow me to say “Happy Holidays” and “Merry Christmas!” This is the season of warmth and family gathering so Mr. Safety is here with some ideas that will keep the holidays worry-free.
Let’s talk about that very important holiday symbol – the tree! Over the years, many people have switched to the convenience of artificial trees. However, there are approximately 25-30 million live Christmas trees sold in the United States every year. But did you also know that each year, fire departments respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees? By taking a few simple precautions, you can make your holidays safer. Here are some tips to help you carefully decorate your Christmas tree this year:
Picking the tree
- If you choose an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
- For a live tree, select a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
Placing the tree
- Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents, or lights.
- Position the tree where it will not block an exit.
- Before placing a live tree in the stand, cut 1″ – 2″ from the base of the trunk.
- Add water to the tree stand and be sure to add water daily! (Click here to watch NFPA‘s video that demonstrates how flammable a dry tree is as opposed to a tree that is watered daily).
Lighting the tree
- Use lights that are labeled by an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
- Replace strings 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. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of LED strands you can safely connect.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to make them last longer, as well as prevent any hazards.
- Dispose of the tree when it begins to drop its needles. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in your home or garage, or even placed outside against your home. The best idea is to check within your community to find a Christmas tree recycling program.
Enough of the do’s and don’ts of the season. I wish you all a warm and safe holiday. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!