Every year there are thousands of home fires and hundreds of fatalities due to Christmas tree fires. This video just released by the Consumer Products Safety Commission is a harsh illustration of what can occur.
Here are some tips to help prevent Christmas tree fires and keep you and your family safe:
Choose the right lights
Try to use the cooler-burning “mini” Christmas lights as opposed to the traditional larger bulbs. The older style burns much hotter and can start fires. Don’t use numerous light cords attached to each other. Purchase a cord specifically designed with multiple outlets along the wire.
Use a stand that fits your tree.
As a general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.
Make sure it has enough water
Make a fresh cut to remove about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Be sure that the water remains above the base at all times. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.
Position the tree properly and protect it
Never place a tree near a heater or other source of heat. If you have pets or small children in the house place a gate around the tree to prevent the pets from biting on the wires or having it fall down. Keep paper away from the lights. This includes wrapped presents piled up and homemade Christmas ornaments made from paper.