My friends at Schlage want you to have a safe holiday season. Did you know that Christmas trees can kill? Not by falling on you, but by burning down your house. Between 2006 and 2010, about 230 home fires per year were responded to by U.S. fire departments, killing an average of four people each year and injuring many more.
Though not common, Christmas tree fires usually cause serious and costly damage. Eighteen percent of these fires were caused by a heat source too close to the tree. Improper disposal of the tree is also implicated as a cause. Here are tips to prevent this very preventable type of residential fire.
- Choose fresh over cheap and dry. The fresher the tree, the less likely it will pose a fire hazard. Look for flexible needles that don’t break, and a trunk with sap.
- Keep the water coming. The tree stand should contain a continuous source of water and be sturdy enough to resist toppling by kids or pets.
- Don’t choke the cord. Attach only three maximum strings of lights to any one extension cord, then place cords along walls to prevent a tripping hazard. Never run them under rugs or carpets.
- Trees don’t need warmth. Keep the tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces, candles and even a TV.
- Not any lights will do. Use low energy, safe lighting that’s been certified by a safety testing lab. Don’t use damaged or frayed cords.
- Shut the lights.Never leave the lights on overnight. Same goes for any appliances not in use when you are home or away.
- Don’t keep a dry tree around. Dispose of it at this point properly. Don’t even keep it in the garage.
- Artificial tree safety awareness. Artificial trees should be flame resistant and have a seal for an approved safety testing laboratory if the tree contains a built-in lighting set.
- Death by artificial tree. If the tree is metal, never use electric lights, as they can charge the tree and lead to electrocution.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Make sure everyone knows its location and how to use it.