December 5, 2017 The Apex Disaster Team

Helpful Tips to prevent Christmas tree fires

It’s that time of the year once again. Every year, millions of Americans venture out and purchase a real Christmas tree. It is a time-honored family tradition that continues to this very day in modern-day America. With this tradition also comes the responsibility of taking care of a real tree.

Many forget that if not properly cared for, you have a tremendously dangerous fire hazard sitting in your home. According to the NFPA, between 2007-2011, fire departments responded to an average of 230 home fires caused by Christmas trees each year. The result was a yearly average of six deaths, 22 injuries and $18.3 million in property damage.

Here is a list of holiday fire safety tips from NFPA and FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration:

  1. When choosing a tree, look for one that is fresh and has green needles that don’t fall out. Brownish needles mean the tree is dried out and more prone to catch fire.
  2. Water your tree daily to prevent it from drying out.
  3. Check the manufacturer’s labels to ensure you use only lights and decorations that are flame-retardant. Look for a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories, Intertek or the Canadian Standards Association, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  4. Check holiday lights for frayed wires or excessive wear.
  5. Don’t connect more than three strands of mini-string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
  6. Keep your tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source, such as a fireplace, radiator, candles or lights.
  7. Make sure your tree is not blocking an exit. In case there is a fire, you want a way to get out.
  8. Always turn off lights on a tree before going to bed or leaving your home.
  9. Get rid of a tree when its needles start dropping. It means the tree is drying out.
  10. Check that your smoke alarm is working properly.

Source: NFPA and FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration

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