NFPA released its latest Home Christmas Tree and Holiday Light Fires Report which offers statistics on fire hazards that typically accompany the winter holiday season.
In 2007-2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 230 home structure fires that began with Christmas trees. Although these fires are not common, when they do occur, they are likely to be serious.
Video: A demonstration showing how flammable a dry Christmas tree can be as opposed to a tree watered regularly. This test was conducted by NFPA and Underwriters Laboratories.
NFPA offers the following safety tips:
- If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
- If using a real tree, select one with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1" - 2" from the base of the trunk.
- Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
- Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
Lighting the tree:
- Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
NFPA offers safety advice and informational resources at www.nfpa.org/holiday that can be used to minimize fire risks this season.