The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has reported that between 2007 and 2011, US fire departments responded to an average of 230 home Christmas tree fires per year, which resulted in an average of 6 deaths, 22 injuries, and $18.3 million in direct property damage annually.  In addition, one in every three Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical issues and one in six is caused by a heat source that is too close to the Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree Fires in the News

There was no shortage of Christmas tree fire news stories during the 2013 holiday season, many of which highlight the most common ignition sources – electrical issues:

Christmas Tree Fires: What Can You Do to Protect Your Home?

This is just a small sampling of the numerous stories regarding Christmas tree fires that occurred last holiday season.  Don’t become a statistic – there are many things you can do to help protect your loved ones and your home when decorating for the holiday season.  Check out these holiday decorating fire safety tips from NFPA:

  • If you choose a live tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • If you choose an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
  • Before placing a live tree in its stand, cut 1-2 inches from the base of the trunk; and make sure to water your tree daily.
  • Do not block exits with your tree.
  • Keep your tree at least three feet from any heat source (fireplace, radiators, candles, heat vents, etc.).
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory.  Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.  Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.  Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree!
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

Finally, make sure to dispose of the tree when it starts to drop its needles.  Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or in the garage.  Watch how quickly a dried-out Christmas tree goes up in flames in this demonstration video:

We hope that you will find these tips helpful while you are decorating for the holidays.  And, from the entire Harrington Group team, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season.