Christmas tree safety
Winter is the peak season for home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Agency and the U.S. Fire Administration, with cooking and home heating the leading causes. Candles, decorations and Christmas trees are among other cause of fires during the last two months of the year.
Between 2013-2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year.
These fires caused an average of three deaths, 15 injuries and $10 million in direct property damage annually. On average, one of every 52 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 135 total reported home fires.
If you are purchasing a live Christmas tree, make sure to purchase a fresh one.
The U.S. Fire Administration reported needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut.
The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If too many needles drop, the tree has been cut too long and has probably dried out.
That tree can easily become a fire hazard.
Do not place a tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
By following these recommendations, your family can enjoy a fresh tree safely.