Christmas Tree Safety Tips

Christmas trees are enjoyed in many homes as the traditional centerpiece of the holiday celebration. However, both real and artificial trees pose an increased risk of fire. Christmas tree fires do happen. Defective lighting, including electrical cords and plugs, cause almost half of all Christmas tree fires.

Prevention Tips
Protect your family and your neighbors with the following fire prevention tips:
  • When choosing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant. When choosing a real tree, select the freshest-looking tree available.
  • Select a tree that is an appropriate size for the room. Keep in mind that trees look smaller when they are outside and tree toppers
  • and stands will add to the final height of the tree.
Real Trees
  • Test for freshness by gently grasping a branch between your thumb and forefinger and pulling it toward you. Very few needles should come off.
  • Shake or bounce the tree on its stump. If an excessive number of green needles fall to the ground, the tree may not be fresh.
  • Buy your tree early. Most tree lots receive only one shipment
  • of trees. Trees don't become fresher sitting in a lot.
  • If you don't plan on putting the tree up right away, make a one half inch fresh cut off the bottom of the trunk and place the tree in a five-gallon bucket of warm water. Store the tree in cool temperatures, but above freezing
  • If the tree has been stored for more than three days, prior to putting it up, make another one inch cut off the bottom of the trunk and immediately place the tree into a stand that holds at least a half-gallon of water.
  • Keep the water level above the cut and check the water level daily. (Initially, a fresh tree may soak up a gallon of water per day.)
  • No water additives, such as aspirin, sugar or commercial fire retardant, are necessary. Plain tap water is best!
  • Place the tree away (at least three feet) from heating system air registers, fireplaces and other heat sources.
  • Try to position the tree near an electrical outlet to minimize use of extension cords.
  • Adequately support the tree with a sturdy stand designed not to tip over.
  • Do not use electric lights on metallic trees. (Use remote spot or reflective lights.)
  • Do not use lighted candles or other flaming devices on or near your tree.
  • Whenever possible, use decorations made with flame-resistant, flame-retardant or non-combustible materials.
  • Unplug the tree lights when out of the room and before going to sleep.
Even if you keep your tree properly watered, it will naturally start to dry out. Discard the tree immediately after the holiday.