Christmas Tree Safety

christmas tree



If you haven’t already, you’ll be putting up your Christmas Tree very soon.  We want to make sure you properly care for your tree and avoid any potential fire risks associated with Christmas Trees. We found some valuable information from National Fire Protection Association that states, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 230 home structure fires that began with Christmas trees in 2007-2011.

These fires caused an annual average of

  • 6 civilian fire deaths,
  •  22 civilian fire injuries, and
  •  $18.3 million in direct property damage

On average, one of every 40 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires.

  • Four of every five Christmas tree fires occurred in December and January. Of the 10 days with the largest shares of Christmas tree fires, none were before Christmas.
  • Electrical problems were factors in one-third (32%) of home Christmas tree structure fires.
  • Twelve percent of home Christmas tree fires involved decorative lights.
  • Candles started 7% of home Christmas tree structure fires.
  • Two of every five (39%) home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den.

Holiday or other decorative lights with line voltage were involved in an average of 150 home
structure fires per year, resulting in an average of

  •  9 civilian deaths,
  • 16 civilian injuries, and
  •  $8.4 million in direct property damage.
  • Two out of five (40%) of these fires were reported in December and 12% occurred in January
  • In nearly one sixth (15%) of these fires, Christmas trees were the item first ignited.
  • Electrical problems were factors in nearly two-thirds (64%) of these fires. Something that could burn was too close to the lights in 19% of the fires.
  • Falls are also a problem. A study found that roughly 5,800 people per year were treated at hospital emergency rooms for falls associated with holiday decorations during November to January.

To avoid this fire risks following these simple tips.

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1″ – 2″ from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure 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.
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string 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. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a 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. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

source info: National Fire Protection Association

Be safe and enjoy your Holidays

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance





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