Christmas trees are a traditional symbol of the holiday season. Whether you prefer a freshly cut tree or an artificial alternative, the day a Christmas tree is brought home and set up is when the holiday season begins for many people. It’s easy to get into the holiday spirit when you start decorating your tree.
But as beautiful and inspiring as Christmas trees can be, it’s important that we all exercise caution around trees so no accidents occur. Here are some suggested Christmas tree safety tips.
*Choose the right tree. The tree you choose can go a long way toward ensuring the tree will make it through the season accident-free. Artificial trees should be identified on their labels as a fire retardant, which means they are less susceptible to fire, something that’s especially important since so many people drape their trees in decorative lights. A freshly cut tree should have fresh, green needles that do not fall off when the tree is touched. This indicates that the tree is not dried out and less likely to catch on fire.
*Your tree should never be placed near a heat source. Both freshly cut and nonflammable trees have caught on fire, so it’s important that your tree is situated in a safe area. In addition, avoid placing the tree near lights or lamps that emit a lot of heat.
*Do not place a tree near an exit. A Christmas tree should never be placed in front or impede access to an exit. Should an accident happen and the tree lights on fire, all exists should be easily accessed so everyone in your household can get out quickly.
*Add water to the tree stand every day. Water should be added to the tree’s stand every single day to keep it green, full, supple, and well hydrated. A dry tree is a significant safety risk, so be sure to check if the tree needs water when you wake up every morning and again before retiring for the evening. Many trees initially need water both in the morning and evening. As the holiday season wears on, the three will likely consume less water, but it’s still important to monitor it’s water level every day while in festive use.
*Inspect lights before decorating the tree. All Christmas lights should be scrutinized before they are hung on the tree. Replace any loose or burned out bulbs, and inspect the cords to make sure they are not frayed or worn out. Follow manufacturer instructions carefully when stringing lights, as they may have specific guidelines on how many lights can be connected at one time.
*Use appropriate lights. Many lights are exclusive to indoor or outdoor use, so be sure to check before you hang your lights. The wrong lights could be a safety hazard. Do not hang lit candles on a Christmas tree.
*Switch off lights before going to bed. Though a Christmas tree may look stunning when illuminated at night, the lights should always be turned off every evening or before leaving your home.
*Dispose of the tree properly. Trees that have dried out pose a considerable fire risk, so it’s best to discard a tree when it starts to drop needles. Don’t leave it in your garage or prop it up against your fence or home. Find where to recycle your tree in your community.
*Consider saving live trees. Artificial trees may not have the same flair as a real tree, but they are live things and deserve our respect.