Holiday decorating is in full swing. As you are choosing your Christmas tree, either live or artificial, and hanging your holiday lights there are certain safety tips that you should follow to make sure that your home is safe from fire hazards. According to the United States Fire Administration, Christmas tree fires are not common, but when they do occur, they can be very dangerous. One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical fires. Based on a National Fire Protection Association 2012 report, between 2007 and 2011 fire departments in the United States responded to an average of 230 home fires that started with a Christmas tree. One in every 40 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death. The reported Christmas tree fires caused over $18 million in direct property damage.
It is important to be fire safe when you are decorating your home for the holidays. AKE Safety Equipment wants to keep your family and home safe this holiday season with the following holiday lights and Christmas tree fire safety tips:
- Use lights that have been tested for safety from an independent testing laboratory.
- Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed wires, or loose connections. Throw away the damaged lights or repair them before use. Unplug the lights before replacing the bulbs.
- Periodically check the light wires. The wires should not be warm to the touch when in use.
- Use no more than 3 standard sets of lights per one extension cord.
- Before decorating your tree and inside your home, determine how many outlets are available in the room and where they are located. Plan your decoration placement according to the outlets.
- Use LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than traditional incandescent lights.
- Many artificial trees are fire resistant. Check the label on the tree to make sure that the trees have this notification.
- A fresh tree will stay green longer and will be less of a fire hazard than a dry one.
- Choose a tree with fresh green needles that do not fall off when they are touched. Loose needles can become a fire hazard.
- Place trees at least three feet away from fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents and other heat sources. A heat source too close to a tree causes one in every six Christmas tree fires.
- Never put candles on a live Christmas tree.
- Be aware that heated rooms dry out trees quicker, which can be fire hazards.
- Cut off 2 inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Place the live tree in a sturdy stand with wide spread feet.
- Add water to the tree stand every day that you have the tree indoors.
- Do not place Christmas trees in high traffic areas of the home.
- When a tree starts to drop needles, it means that it is drying out and that it is time to get rid of it.
- Recycle or depose of the Christmas tree as soon as you notice it is drying out. Do not keep a dried out tree in a garage or placed outside against a home wall.