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Hundreds of Fires Every Year Caused By Christmas Trees - How You Can Avoid Them

Jason Reese

Deck Your Halls With a Safe Christmas Tree

The team at Wagner Reese is happy to share the holiday season with so many Hoosier families by providing safety tips to keep you celebrating. That includes making sure your home’s Christmas tree is not a fire hazard. More than 200 Christmas trees start house fires every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), causing $16.2 million in direct property damage. With some help of the NFPA and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, review these Christmas tree decorating tips to make sure your holidays are fire free.

Choosing a Real vs. Artificial Tree

  • Choose a live Christmas tree that is fresh. Needles should not fall off when touched.
  • When placing a live tree in its stand, cut 1-2” from the base of the trunk to ensure better water intake.
  • Always make sure the tree is not blocking any exits.
  • Water the tree daily by adding water to the tree stand. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard.
  • If you choose an artificial tree, know that the label “flame retardant” does not mean, “fire proof.” If exposed to a heat or fire source, these trees can burn. In fact, artificial trees, particularly pre-lit artificial trees, can be a significant contributor to rapid fire growth in a room.
  • When you’re buying a pre-lit artificial tree, look for the UL Mark on tree boxes or product description tags in stores and online. When you see the UL Mark, you can rest easier knowing your tree is certified by UL for fire and electrical hazards.

Your Merry, Bright Christmas Tree

In one-quarter of Christmas tree fires and 80-percent of the deaths, a heat source, such as a candle or heating equipment, got too close to the tree, reports the NFPA.

  • Use proper lights in the correct areas. Some lights are for indoor use only. Look for the holographic UL label on Christmas lights and purchase those.
  • When using string lights, discard any with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Never connect more than three strands of lights together.
  • Never use candles to decorate the tree.
  • Set up the tree at least three feet away from fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents, lamps, etc.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights or any other decorations with lights before leaving the home or going to bed.

Christmas tree fires are deadlier than most other home fires because the tree can flashpoint in less than a minute says the NFPA. Don’t forget to recycle your tree when it begins to drop needles. It’s also not a good idea to leave it for an extended period outside of your home. This can also cause a fire hazard, so be sure to properly dispose of a dried-up tree as soon as possible. Unplug all of your lights and safely store away in an area where the wires and hardware will not be damaged for next season.

Holiday Fires Can Lead to Life-Changing Injuries

Home fires place a physical, psychological, social, and financial burden on the victim and their families. If you or one of your loved ones has been injured or experienced a loss due to a fire this holiday season, our Indianapolis-based personal injury attorneys may be able to help you put your life back together and happy to provide your family with a free and confidential consultation.

You can complete and submit the online form, and our attorneys will review your information, and respond promptly. If you wish to speak directly with us, please call (888) 204-8440.


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