Every year, hundreds of people are affected by improperly taking care of their Christmas trees, which can result in a dangerous fire.
This year, now that many more people will be staying at home because of the COVID-19 restrictions, these safety tips are more important than ever.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, one-third of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems and one-quarter start when the tree is placed too close to a heat source, such as a fireplace, woodstove, radiator or space heater. With this knowledge, homeowners should make sure electrical connections to the Christmas tree and holiday lighting are safe, and that Christmas trees are placed at least three feet away from heat sources.
You may also consider using a timer so you don’t forget to turn off the lights at night.
When shopping for Christmas lights, it is best to purchase those that are listed by an approved testing agency and to follow the manufacturer’s directions. New LED lights are cooler and use less electricity, so you may consider switching to these.
Before bringing out your older lights, inspect for frayed wires or other defects. Make sure the bulbs themselves are not touching the tree, curtains, wrapped gifts, and tree skirts. And this is important: never use lighted candles as decorations.
Live Christmas trees should be watered regularly to keep them looking fresh. Watering also prevents the tree from drying up too fast. Take note that a dry Christmas tree could catch fire much easier.
In this video, Pasadena Fire Station 33 shows how dangerous and quick these Christmas trees can catch fire, possibly impacting your entire home.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department has also issued these safety tips especially concerning your holiday lighting:
Before hanging your lights, check for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear.
Unless the directions state it is safe to do so, do not link more than three strands.
Periodically check the wires; they should not be warm to the touch.
Make sure to unplug lights before you leave the house or go to bed.
After the holidays, make sure to remove your tree and dispose of it by taking advantage of the City’s curbside pick-up days or recycling programs.