How To Avoid Christmas Tree Fires

We know that many of you already put up your Christmas trees, and hopefully you’ve been enjoying their wonderful pine scent, festive looks and twinkling lights. Some people wait until closer to Christmas to choose the tree and decorate it.

Either way, you’ll probably hang treasured ornaments on it, and place your carefully chosen presents underneath it—presents you’ve probably spent a pretty penny on.

Do you know how long it takes for a Christmas tree to go up in flames? Less than 60 seconds. You probably won’t even realize it’s happening in that time, especially if you’re asleep in bed. The result? Christmas tree fires cause on average four deaths, 21 civilian fire injuries and $17 million in direct property damage.

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, says the National Fire Protection Association, when they do occur, the are more likely to be serious. More facts from the NFPA: One of every three home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems, and a heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in six of the fires!

So please take the time to keep your family and home safe this winter by reading our Christmas tree safety tips:

  • If buying a real tree, always choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut a whole two inches from the bottom of the trunk. This will allow it to take up more water and stay hydrated.
  • Don’t forget to add water to the tree stand, and to top it up every other day or, best yet, daily.
  • Make sure the tree is a full three feet away from any heat sources, including fireplaces, candles, radiators, heating vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking any doors or exits.
  • Choose tree lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Check to make sure if they are for indoor use before decorating your tree.
  • Check your existing light strings for worn or broken cords and loose bulb connections and replace them.
  • If you’re connecting lights together, don’t string together more than three strands of mini lights and a maximum of 50 for screw-in bulbs. If unsure, check the manufacturer’s instructions, especially for the new LED lights.
  • NEVER use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Even though there’s a beautiful glow throughout the house when you leave the tree lights on all night, always turn them off before going to bed.
  • After Christmas, take down the tree and dispose of it as soon as possible. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the house or put in the garage. Don’t lean it up against the side of your house, either! Check with your local government office to find a recycling program, or to see if your waste disposal team will take the trees on a certain day.
  • Pack away outdoor lights after Christmas to both prevent hazards and to make them last longer.

Remember, house fires are almost always covered by your insurance company (but don’t get any ideas—arson is never covered!), but a house fire is a devastating experience, especially at the holidays, and even more so if you lose a loved one. Please take precautions to stay safe and have a wonderful Christmas.

From all of us at BMR Insurance Agency, we wish all of our customers and readers a wonderful holiday season!

Happy holidays!

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