The Christmas tree, a treasured holiday symbol, could spell trouble for homeowners who aren’t careful.
Between 2012 and 2016, U.S. fire departments responded each year to an average 170 home fires started by Christmas trees, according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires annually caused an average $12 million in property damage.
Fortunately, most Christmas tree-related fires are preventable. Here, Danny shares some must-know safety tips if you have a Christmas tree in your home.
Danny, what kinds of precautions do we need to take with a live tree?
•Live trees should be as fresh and green as possible. The needles on a fresh tree will bend instead of break, and they should not fall off easily.
•Cut an inch or two off the bottom trunk before putting it in a stand; this allows water to soak into the tree. Drill a hole in the center of the trunk – this will help with water absorption.
•Use a stand that holds water, and keep it filled to prevent the tree from drying out.
•For lights, use LEDs that are cool to the touch; they create less of a fire risk and won’t dry out your tree.
Danny, what are some safety concerns with artificial trees?
•Buy only artificial trees that are labeled “fire resistant.”
•For pre-lit trees, look for the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) seal of approval to indicate that the proper wiring was used.
•Inspect for fraying wires on pre-lit trees.
•Don’t string too many lights together – follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid overloading the circuit.
•For both real and artificial trees, locate them away from fireplaces, radiators and space heaters, and put the lights on timers, or turn them off when asleep and away from home
What are some easy and eco-friendly ways to dispose of a live tree?
•Many communities offer recycling programs; check with your county or city to see which programs may be available. Such programs will chip everything into mulch, which can be beneficial for your planting beds.
•Stake the tree into your property for erosion control. It will help gather the nearby dirt.
•If allowed, create a habitat for fish by sinking the tree into your fish pond.
Watch the full segment, featured on The Weather Channel’s “AMHQ,” above to learn more!