Christmas trees popped up in houses in record time this season, even far ahead of the holidays. People
are turning to festive decorations to brighten up their homes and spread joy towards others.
But some elements of seasonal decoration can be hazardous. A combination of evergreen trees,
wreaths or branches with candles or lights raises the danger of a home fire and burning down your
home probably isn’t the way you would like to close out 2020.
“To make certain the holidays are the happiest time of the year, you need to take fire safety precautions
seriously,” says Jami Warner, executive director of the American Christmas Tree Association.
You can deck the halls with beautiful decor while maintaining the safety of your family member’s top of
thoughts. According to ACTA, Christmas trees alone result in $13 million in damage to property annually.
Tree dryness, an electric malfunction with lights, and badly located heating resources make a deadly
combination for fire. Stay safe this season by taking the following measures to ensure a holiday season
that stays jolly.
Use light strands in good condition
The more lights the merrier, right? Only if these lights are in great shape before hanging and don’t have
frayed or had loose connections. No matter the area you live in, look for the UL seal. “That seal means
that the lights meet the national industry standards of the American National Standards Institute,” says
Warner. “Make certain to only use lights where they are supposed to be utilized, outdoor lights must be
used outdoors, and indoor lighting should be used indoors.”
Additionally, make sure to unplug your lights before going to bed. Warner claims to never place lights
anywhere close to a source of heat such as a fireplace, a room heater, an oven or stove, or candles.
Modern LED lights are the safest to use, and many top quality artificial trees come with LEDs installed.
Give some TLC to your fresh tree
A fresh evergreen is a beautiful tradition, but it takes upkeep to prevent it from becoming a fire hazard.
Specialists say utilizing a fresh tree, one with vibrant green needles that do not break or shed easily,
makes it less likely to catch fire.
“Water real trees every day,” says Teresa Neal, fire program expert in the U.S. Fire Administration.
“Keep real trees apart from heating vents. Trees should steer clear of radiators, fireplaces, lights, and
candles, too.” Warner indicates that the real trees should be torn down after four weeks.
Make sure your artificial tree is fire resistant
Artificial trees need less upkeep than their cousins alive, so you won’t need to water them or sweep up
the needles. But ensure you buy one that is fire resistant. “Look for the fire-resistant label on artificial
trees,” says Neal.
Anchor your tree
The last thing you want is to yell “Timber!” as you watch your tree take a fall in the living room. Experts
recommend anchoring your tree to the ceiling or walls to ensure it stays upright. A wise idea is to put it
in the corner to make it simpler to anchor from two sides. Likewise, watch kids and pets in the vicinity to
prevent them from knocking over the tree.
Mind your candles
The most common days of the year for house fires caused by candles are during the holidays. While
candles could make any space festive, they are also a hazard.
“Avoid using candles whenever possible, and consider using battery-powered ones instead,” says Neal.
“If you’re using real candles, always place them on a sturdy base that doesn’t burn, away from anything
that may burn. And never leave candles unattended, especially around kids and pets. Don’t use candles
on bedside tables or near greenery, including trees and garland.”
Mind your heat sources
Almost 50% of seasonal decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a source of
heat. Regardless of what type of tree, garland, or you display it, keep it away from all heat sources. Also,
holiday candles should be placed at least a foot away from anything that could catch fire.
Check your smoke alarms
Properly maintaining smoke alarms is very important all year long, but it’s especially essential
throughout the cooler months when the fireplaces are roaring and the halls are all decked out.
“Ensure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home. Have them outside and inside
sleeping areas. Test your alarm each month to ensure it’s working. In case your alarms are 10 years old
or older, replace them,” says Neal.
All Systems Integrated have certified fire alarm system installers and inspectors. Call today to schedule
your smoke alarm inspection and make sure you and your loved ones stay safe this winter and beyond.