As you deck the halls and get into the holiday spirit this season, remember to always make safety your number one priority. Christmas trees can pose serious dangers and potential threats if not properly cared for and utilized.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, each year, fire departments respond to 200+ fires caused by Christmas trees. One-third of these fires are caused by electrical problems, while one in every five of these fires is a result of a heat source being too close to the tree.
Below are some important and worthwhile guidelines to consider when choosing, decorating and maintaining your festive greenery:
Choosing Your Tree
- Select a tree with fresh, green needles that do not break off from the branches when touched
- The trunk bottom of a fresh tree should be sticky with resin
- When purchasing an artificial tree, look for a “Fire-Retardant” label
Placing Your Tree
- Trees should never be placed near fireplaces, radiators, heater vents or TV sets
- Cut off two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption
- Keep the stand of the tree filled with water at all times. A tree will absorb a gallon of water or more in the first 24 hours and one or more quarts a day thereafter
Lighting and Trimming Your Tree
- Use indoor or outdoor lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory
- Check each set of lights for broken or cracked sockets and frayed or bare wires. Discard and replace damaged light sets
- Use only one extension cord per outlet
- Never decorate your tree with lit candles
- Always turn off Christmas lights before leaving your home or going to bed
- Position bulbs so that they aren’t in direct contact with needles or ornaments
- Don’t run electrical cords under rugs and be careful when placing cords behind or beneath furniture
- Decorate your tree with tinsel or artificial plastic or nonleaded metals
Gifts Under Your Tree
- Never place wrapped gifts near open flames or electrical wiresRemove all wrapping paper, boxes and other trash from tree area immediately after presents are opened
- Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace; wrappings ignite suddenly and will burn quickly
Taking Your Tree Down
- The longer a tree stays up, the more fire hazards it presents. It is best to dispose of your tree within one month after purchase
- Never store your tree in your house or garage.
- Don’t burn the needles or branches of your Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace. The sap found on firs and pines can ignite quickly and burn intensely
- Take your tree to your local community recycling center or have it taken away by a community pick-up service
Following the above guidelines for Christmas trees will help you to have the safest celebration possible. And at the end of the day, being with your friends and loved ones safe and sound in the comfort of your home is what the holiday season is all about.
The Law Offices of Joe Bornstein wishes you and yours a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.