If you’re having trouble parting with your Christmas tree, hopefully this fact will motivate you: Nearly one-third (29 percent) of U.S. home fires that begin with Christmas trees occurs in January. Christmas trees are combustible items that become increasingly flammable as they continue to dry out. The longer you keep one in your home, the more of a fire hazard it becomes.
NFPA statistics show that on average each year, one of every 52 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to one death per 135 total reported home structure fires. In other words, Christmas tree fires don’t happen all that often, but when they do occur, they’re much more likely to be serious.
At NFPA, we recommend using the local community’s recycling program for tree disposal, if possible; trees should not be put in the garage or left outside.
Also, here are tips for safely removing lighting and decorations and storing them properly to ensure that they’re in good condition the following season:
- Use the gripping area on the plug when unplugging electrical decorations. Never pull the cord to unplug any device from an electrical outlet, as this can harm the wire and insulation of the cord, increasing the risk for shock or electrical fire
- As you pack up light strings, inspect each line for damage, throwing out any sets that have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires.
- Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags, or wrap them around a piece of cardboard.
- Store electrical decorations in a dry place away from children and pets where they will not be damaged by water or dampness.