Lert’s start off with one important fact. When you bring a live Christmas Tree into your home, you are putting a fire hazard right in the middle of your living room. According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), “Christmas trees account for 200 fires annually, resulting in 6 deaths, 25 injuries and more than $6 million in property damage.”
What is the best way to prevent a Christmas tree fire? Keep the tree wet.
As the USFA points out “Well-watered trees are not a problem. Dry and neglected trees can be.”
How hard is it to set a wet tree on fire?
According to the USFA, “For comparative purposes, the NIST fire safety engineers selected a green Scotch pine, had it cut in their presence, had an additional two inches cut from the trunk’s bottom, and placed the tree in a stand with at least a 7.6 liter water capacity. The researchers maintained the Scotch pine’s water on a daily basis. A single match could not ignite the tree. A second attempt in which an electric current ignited an entire matchbook failed to fire the tree. Finally they applied an open flame to the tree using a propane torch. The branches ignited briefly, but self-extinguished when the researchers removed the torch from the branches”
In other words, setting a wet Christmas Tree on fire is as hard as getting a straight answer from a politician.
The USFA also offers these tips to keep your home dafe from a Christmas fire.
Needles should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needles should not break . The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Bounce the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has has dried out and is a fire hazard.
Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree. Do not flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not leave your tree up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
When disposing of your tree, never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or woodburning stove. Take the tree to a recycling center or have it hauled away by a community pick-up service.
Inspect holiday lights for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear..
Do not overload your electrical sockets..Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Periodically check the wires ; they should not be warm to the touch.
All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
Never put wrapping paper in a fireplace. It can result in a large fire, throwing off parks and embers and may cause a chimney fire.
If you use candles, place them in holders where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.
Never put lit candles on a Christmas Tree. Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame – candles, lighters or matches.