The NFPA reports that up to 210 serious blazes originate from Christmas tree every year in the US.
If you’ve ever seen a pine or fir forest on fire, you’ll know why you don’t want this happening in your house. A burning tree means business.
It’s time to take your indoor Christmas tree seriously. Our safety tips will ensure that your holiday season doesn’t end in disaster.
1. The Fresher the Better
A cheap and nasty, past-its-prime specimen not only looks unattractive, but it’s far more likely to ignite.
Feel the needles to check that they are pliable and soft. They should not snap under pressure. The trunk should be juicy and full of sap.
2. Water Your Christmas Tree
An indoor Christmas tree works on the same principles as a flower arrangement. The more you water it, the longer it will stay lush and lively.
The quicker your tree dries out, the faster it will burn.
When you get your tree home, slice off the bottom two inches of the trunk. This will help it to absorb water.
Keep a source of water nearby as a reminder to water it daily.
3. Indoor Christmas Tree Lights
Apart from the mental health hazards of untangling them after storage every year, Christmas lights can be dangerous little things.
Always use safety-approved, low energy lights. Check the cords or frays or splitting — these are a safety no-no.
Never attach more than 3 strings of lights to one extension cord. This will draw too much power from your wall socket and can cause the cord to overheat.
Switch the lights off at the wall when you go to bed at night.
Avoid running cords under a rug and run them alongside a wall to prevent anyone from tripping over them.
No More Tangles
On a lighter note, here’s a handy tip to stop those Christmas lights from tying themselves up in knots in the first place:
At the end of the season, cut a slit in the lid of a Pringles container and slip the end of the light cord into it.
Then wrap the lights around the cylinder and place the other end through the lid too. If you tape the cord to the cylinder every few twists, those lights aren’t going anywhere.
No Pringles tubes? Here are some more ideas for storing Christmas lights.
4. Keep it Cool
All those postcards you see with a gaily decorated Christmas tree next to the fireplace. That’s not cool.
Placing timber, paper ornaments next to a fire is a bad idea, period. Sparks from the fire could easily ignite anything within reach.
Don’t burn your Christmas tree or any other decorations inside your fireplace after the season.
By definition, a fireplace is a safety hazard. These safety tips courtesy of Chimney Liner Pro will help to ensure the only thing your fireplace roasts this Christmas is chestnuts.
5. Safety First
Keeping a fire extinguisher close to your indoor Christmas tree or fireplace is an important safety measure.
If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, read our blog on how to find and buy used safety equipment.
6. Artificial Tree Safety Issues
Don’t bet your life on fire-retardant artificial Christmas trees. Make sure they have a seal of approval from a recognized safety testing institution.
Remember, fire retardant does not mean fire-proof. Follow the same safety procedures as for a live tree.
Trees with metal frames don’t go with electric Christmas lights. These can charge your tree and turn it into an electrocution hazard.
After the festive season, prepare your tree as carefully as you would any other item headed for long-term storage.
7. After the Holidays
When the last carol has been sung and all the decorations have been packed away, take care to give your indoor Christmas tree an appropriate send-off.
Don’t leave it to linger in the garage. Get that flammable timber off your property with the rest of the garden refuge. Most towns will collect your old tree from you on designated days if you leave it curbside.
If you bought a Christmas tree in a pot, you could even try planting it.
The world can never have enough trees.
8. Placing the Tree
The same rules as for fireplaces apply to radiators candles and other sources of heat. Keep the tree at least 3 ft. from any sources of heat or flame.
Do we need to tell you that decorating your tree with lit candles is a bad idea?
Make sure that your indoor Christmas tree is not blocking any escape route if it were to set alight.
9. Steady Your Tree
A wobbly tree is unattractive and dangerous. Make sure your tree is firmly attached to its base.
Adjust some screws if need be, or buy a stand that fits correctly.
Secure taller trees to the wall or ceiling with thin guy wires.
10. Decorating the Tree
Now for the fun part.
Decorating your is one of the greatest joys of the festive season. Make it a safe one.
If small children are helping, avoid using items that may shatter or break in their hands.
Angel hair can cause skin irritations and snow spray is dangerous in the wrong hands. Follow the directions on the tin carefully to avoid inhaling any of the liquid.
Use a step ladder to get to the upper reaches of the to avoid nasty falls from objects that aren’t made for climbing.
The Clock is Ticking
If you won’t be home for the holidays, don’t leave an indoor Christmas tree unattended.
You can also check out the rest of our USA Today classifieds blog for great ideas on where and how to enjoy your vacation best.
The countdown to Christmas is starting.
Happy holidays from us to you!