Christmas trees are beautiful, and such a symbol of the holidays. Bright lights, ornaments from years past, and gifts gathered underneath. But they can also be deadly—a tree and gifts can catch fire in as little as 60 seconds, and completely burn within 10 minutes, thanks to the combination of the tree’s dryness, electrical lighting malfunctions, and heating sources in the wrong places. This usually happens while the family is asleep, making smoke detectors even more essential. $13 million—that’s how much property damage costs Christmas trees create annually!
But still, how can you resist a live tree? If you have to have one, please follow these safety precautions at all times to keep your family, guests and friends safe:
- Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire, so look for a tree with vibrant green needles that are hard to pick out and don’t come off easily from the branches. Beware of trees shedding its needles readily.
- Don’t place your tree next to heat sources, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and constantly check the tree base to ensure it’s filled with water to avoid a the tree drying out.
- Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested in a lab by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety, and don’t take a risk with any damaged lights. Throw them out.
- Make sure any lights you use outdoors are labeled suitable for exteriors, and be sure to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter-protected receptacle.
- Candles are beautiful additions to holiday decorations, but please keep them away from your Christmas tree, surrounding furniture and décor. Better yet, use LED fake candles instead of real candles.
- Don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree lights off each night, and also make sure that all candles and fires are fully out.
And make sure you have insurance for your home! Renters, this goes for you too! Even if your landlord has homeowners insurance, that will NOT cover the loss of your belongings.
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