Did you know that a dried out Christmas tree could become fully immersed in flames in a matter of 3-5 seconds and in another 30-40 seconds everything in the room can be burning?
As the holidays approach, many homes decorate in order to celebrate the season. As you put up your Christmas tree, the Red Cross of East Georgia would like to remind you of some fire hazards and safety tips.
Here are some facts about holiday fires:
- One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
- Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires.
- A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every six of Christmas tree fires.
- More than half (56%) of home candle fires occur when something that can catch on fire is too close to the candle.
- December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December 11% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.
Follow these helpful tips to stay safe this holiday season:
- If you purchase your tree from a lot or a local tree farm, make sure it is treated with a fire retardant before bringing it home. Make a fresh cut (1-2 inches) at the base of the tree trunk and place it in a bucket with plenty of cool, fresh water (a tree can drink a gallon or more in the first 24 hours).
- When choosing a location for your Christmas tree, make sure it is away from all heat sources, including your home heating system.
- Make sure your stand is the correct size for your tree and that it is clean before you place the tree inside it. A stand that is too small is prone to falling over.
- Once the tree is in the stand, water it daily! This will prevent the tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.
- Make sure every string of lights is UL listed and in good working order. Throw out any strings of lights that are damaged. If they feel warm after you plug them in they are NO good, throw them away.
- Do not overload your outlets. If you do not have enough outlets, use a good quality surge protector.
- Always turn off the trees lights when you leave home or go to sleep.