Don’t let dangers posed by Christmas trees and lights spoil your holidays

Close up of Christmas tree with lights and ornaments

Do you know on average 250 home fires start with Christmas trees per year? The result of these fires cost 14 deaths, 26 injuries, and $13.8 million in direct property damage annually.

Here are some tips to help prevent your Christmas tree from catching fire during the holiday season:

  • Don’t let your tree lose its needles. Cut 1 inch off the trunk, then place the tree in water immediately to help it absorb water.
  • Dried Christmas trees burn much faster than watered trees. Your tree stand should hold at least 1 gallon of water. A 6-foot tree will use 1 gallon of water every two days. Check the water level every day.
  • Clean the tree stand to improve the tree’s water intake; do not let the tree run out of water.
  • Keep your tree away from floor heaters, fireplaces, or other heat sources.
  • Use only UL-approved lights, and no more than three strands linked together.
  • Wash your hands after handling lights and decorations, due to lead dust found on most imported decorations.
  • Use miniature lights—which have cool-burning bulbs.
  • Turn off the Christmas lights when you sleep or leave your home.
  • Never use real candles on or near an artificial or real tree.
  • Ensure that tinsel or artificial icicles are made of lead-free material.
  • Avoid decorations that tend to break easily or have sharp edges.
  • Keep tree trimmings that are small or have removable parts out of the reach of small children, to prevent them from being swallowed.

What to Do with Your Tree After Christmas

Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

group of friends exchanging holiday gifts

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