clock December 1, 2011 comments No Comments flowchart Our Blog tag

It’s that jolly time of year where millions of homes get decorated
with a festive Christmas tree, twinkling lights, and lots of polyester
and plastic decorations.  What do you get when you cross overloaded
Christmas lights with polyester decorations and a flammable pine tree?  A
house fire!  Read more to learn how to enjoy all of the decorations
while also making sure to keep your home and family safe.

As you deck the halls (or your living room) this holiday season, be
sure to be fire smart.  A Christmas tree fire can engulf an entire house
in flames in minutes.  Although these tree fires are not common, they
have a higher chance to be deadly.  According to the National Fire
Protection Association, US fire departments responded to an estimated
annual average of 240 house fires that began with Christmas trees in
2005-2009.  These fires caused an annual average of 13 deaths, 27
injuries, and $16.7 million in property damge. 

Christmas Fire Safety

There are important safety tips to follow
to limit the risk of fire in your home during the holiday months.  It
all begins with selected the right tree.  When choosing a tree, look for
one with fresh green needles that don’t fall of when touched.   The
trunk of the tree should be sticky to the touch.  To test for freshness,
bounce the cut tree trunk on the ground.  If needles fall off, move on
to the next tree.  The next important step is taking home your tree,
setting it up, and caring for it.  Before putting your tree in a sturdy
non-stip stand, cut 1-2″ from the base of the trunk.  This helps the
tree to better soak up the water.  Fill the stand base with as much
water as it holds and be sure to check it daily.  When you first take
the tree home, it may absorb water more quickly.  When selecting the
perfect spot to display your tree, find a place close to an
electrical outlet to minimize the use of extension cords.  Make sure the
tree will be at least three feet away from any heat source such as heat
vents, baseboards, radiators, fireplaces, and lights, and candles. 
These sources will make your tree dry out more quickly.  Remember, a wet
tree is a happy tree, and much less flamable!

Decorating your tree is a great family fun,
but making sure its decorated with fire safety in mind is an even
better family learning experience.  One in every three home Christmas
tree fires are caused by electrical problems.  When selecting lights,
look on the box for a mark that says ETL, UL, or CSA. This means the
lights have been tested for safety.  On indoor trees, be sure to use
lights that are labeled for indoor use only.  Inspect your lights
carefully.  Replace any broken or missing bulbs.  Look for any worn or
broken cords or loose bulb connections.  Christmas lights do not last
forever so throw them out if they show any sign of wear, and get new
ones.  Read the instructions on the box of lights.  Follow manufacturer
recommendations and never string more strands together than the
recommended amount.  As a rule of thumb, connect no more than three
strands at once.  When plugging the strands into the electrical outlet,
do not overload the outlet, and be sure to always turn off the tree
lights when leaving your home or going to bed.  It may be obvious, but I
will say it anyway… NEVER use lit candles to decorate your tree!

Lastly, when the holidays come to an end
and your home is littered with empty boxes and torn wrapping paper,
dispose of this stuff in the most safe way possible. Put it in your
trash can outside and recycle the boxes.  Do not use your fireplace to
burn wrapping paper or boxes because before you know it, you will be
burning your furniture, your entire home, and everything in it. When
disposing of your Christmas tree, do NOT burn it in or outside your
home. Christmas trees are so flamable that they are almost explosive by
the end of the holiday months.  Be sure to take the tree outside, away
from the edge of the house, and let your town trash pickup take it away.

Loiselle Insurance Agency wishes you and
your family the happiest and safest of holiday seasons.  Drink eggnog,
eat sweets, check out the twinkling lights, shop till you drop, and
enjoy all of the holiday cheer!