Keeping The Holidays Bright And Safe

Christmas Tree Safety Tips

by Thomas Walters // October - November - December 2023

For many, the joy of decorating the Christmas tree is a cherished holiday tradition, yet it’s essential to remember that with the addition of a tree to your home, the risk of fire and accidents increases. To ensure a safe and joyful holiday season, follow these lifesaving steps to minimize risks and create a secure environment for your loved ones.

Christmas Trees

A real tree can fill your home with both beauty and the invigorating scent of pine. However, it’s crucial to be aware that a live tree can also present a potential fire hazard. When choosing a fresh tree, opt for one of a vibrant green color. The needles of pines and spruces should bend and not break and should be hard to pull off the branches. On fir species, a needle pulled from a fresh tree will snap when bent, much like a fresh carrot. Also, look for a trunk sticky with sap.

Trimming the trunk and using a proper stand are essential steps in maintaining the freshness and safety of your Christmas tree. To trim the trunk, cut off about two inches from the bottom and place the tree in a sturdy, water-holding stand. Keep the reservoir filled with water so the tree does not dry out quickly. Position your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces to prevent drying. Ensure it doesn’t block doorways or foot traffic.

If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.

Tree Lights

Use indoor lights strictly indoors and outdoor lights exclusively outdoors. Always look for the UL label on light sets. Carefully inspect your lights, examining sockets for any signs of breakage or cracks, frayed or barbed wires, or loose connections. Replace or promptly repair any damaged light sets.

To prevent overloading circuits, use no more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Positioning extension cords against walls prevents tripping hazards. Avoid running cords under rugs, as this can create heat build-up and increase the risk of fire. And always turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.

Tree Ornaments

Always use a proper step stool or ladder when reaching high areas, ensuring a stable and secure foundation for your tasks.

Under no circumstances should you position lit candles on a tree or in proximity to flammable materials. This precaution prevents the risk of fire hazards. And exercise care in ornament placement – refrain from hanging fragile decorations or those with small, detachable parts on lower branches, where they may be within reach of children or pets.

Speaking of children, do not hang popcorn chains and candy canes on the tree when small children are present. This precautionary measure helps prevent them from mistaking other ornaments for edible items.

Christmas tree safety is of paramount importance to ensure a joyful and hazard-free holiday season. By taking simple precautions and prioritizing tree safety, families can relish the magic of the season without the worry of preventable disasters, allowing for a truly merry and stress-free celebration.

Thomas Walters

Allstate agent and owner of Walters Insurance Agency.