Tree Fire Statistics
Fire departments across the country responded to 210 Christmas tree fires between 2010-2014. The number of tree fires dropped dramatically from 850 in 1980 to 170 in 2014. But these fires still cause many injuries, deaths, and millions of dollars in direct property damage each year.
While we can know that Christmas tree fires aren’t as common as home fires, statistics indicate that tree fires are more deadly. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 1 in 34 Christmas tree related fires resulted in at least one death while 1 in 142 regular home fires resulted in a death.
Decorative lights, wiring, plugs, candles, and heating equipment play a role in most Christmas tree fires. Lighting or heat sources too close to the tree caused most tree fires, as analyzed by the NFPA.
We know that you and your family are looking forward to a safe holiday celebration. Read on to find out the important safety tips recommended by NFPA to reduce the risk of Christmas tree fires. Additionally, learn more about lighting safety here.
Choosing the Right Tree
- Find a fresh tree with green needles.
- Avoid choosing any tree with needles that fall off when touched.
- If you choose to use an artificial tree, be sure it has been tested and labeled as fire resistent.
Selecting the Indoor Location
- Cut at least 2 inches from the trunk base and place properly in a tree stand with water.
- Find a location for the tree that doesn’t block an exit, and make sure the tree is 3 feet or further away from any type of heat source including heat vents, lights, radiators, fireplaces, or candles.
Decorating the Tree
- Only use decorations that are marked inflammable and for indoor use and have an “independent testing laboratory” or Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label. Older light strands don’t have fused plugs and may short circuit, so stick with newer, safer lights. Read the instruction guide to determine how to connect the strands.
- If any bulbs are broken, have frayed ends, have loose connections, or look old and warn, do not use them.
- Be extra careful with cords, decorations, drapes, and debris when using ladders near the tree.
Daily Tree Reminders
- Do not put candles on or near the tree.
- Make sure to water the tree daily.
- Avoid extension cords overheating by unplugging them if they are hot to the touch.
- Shut off the decorations and tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
Cleaning it Up
- Remove the tree and bring to a local community tree recycling station. Dry, brittle branches and trees pose a fire danger outside.
- Unplug, bring in, and store outdoor electrical lights to prevent hazards.
When it comes to holiday safety, taking care of the tree is a great start. And for more information on lighting safety, click here. Take time to review the aforementioned tips so that you and your loved ones enjoy a happy, healthy and safe holiday.
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