Professor's House

Christmas Tree Safety – Don’t Burn the House Down

Christmas trees are a staple in most households as a beautiful tradition that is celebrated and decorated with pure joy every year. Of course, every year there have been changes within the family structure, living arrangements, and countless other avenues that can impact on the safety of a family’s Christmas tree.

Most people really don’t give Christmas tree safety the due consideration it is worth. Since they have been an annual staple in our lives since we were born, we tend to just consider them a decoration and assume that we are being safe with their use and decoration.

The statistics are a bit sketchy, but the numbers come in at around 300 Christmas tree fires every year. A fire at any time of year is devastating. Yet it just seems so much worse when it happens around Christmas. A few simple precautions can help keep your home and your family much safer during the Christmas season.

Getting a live tree too early and setting ablaze with lights may very well be the leading cause of Christmas tree fires. The needles tend to dry out, and the heat from the light bulbs is a disaster waiting to happen, especially if the tree lights are left on for long periods of time.

Keeping a tree well hydrated may help minimize the drying process that the needles endure. When you initially purchase the tree, ask for an additional cut approximately one inch above the original cut like to help the tree absorb more moisture. Of course you will want to water your tree consistently while it is beautifying your home.

Running your hand over the needles of a tree before you buy it can help determine whether the tree is old and half dead or fresh and full of vitality. A few needles are bound to fall off, but if the needles fall off in clumps, then it’s a little too old and a little too dead.

If you tend to purchase your tree but wait several days or weeks prior to putting it up, store it our of direct sunlight and leave the end firmly planted in a bucket of water to help it stay alive, bright, and hydrated.

Please us lights as they are intended. If they are for outdoor use, then use them outside. If they are for indoor use, then use them inside. Double check the packaging when purchasing lights to make sure they were safety tested. In most cases it is safe to assume that they were, but checking anyway helps ensure that someone took the time to produce a Christmas tree light that is a safe as possible. It’s never a good idea to put lights on a metal tree. Always make sure that artificial trees are fire retardant.

Naturally, keeping things tidy goes a long way toward safety. Dangling strings or frayed Christmas lights or even failing tree ornaments can pose a significant safety hazard. Wobbly trees or trees that are browning are unattractive and a potential safety nightmare. Little kids and untrained puppies find Christmas trees and their ornaments irresistible. One year when my parents had two little kids and one untrained puppy they put the Christmas tree in a portable crib to keep everyone safe.

The use of cords and extension cords often can not be avoided during the holiday decorating, however try to minimize their presence over long distances and high traffic areas. Tripping over the cord with enough force may cause the tree or other decorations to topple.

The decision to use real fire in any part of a Christmas tree decoration is not a good one. Real fire is dangerous and hazardous even in regards to non-traditional Christmas trees. Real fire should be limited to those areas which it can be contained, such as fire places, and well placed candles.

You should be sure to have the option to close off the room that the Christmas tree resides in to keep out pets and children when supervision is at a minimum. Dogs and children can be much more readily trained to stay away from the tree than an adventurous cat. Christmas tree decorations are often fragile, but enticing for any pet or child. Even a seemingly secure Christmas tree can topple onto a curious child or an ambitious pet. Taking precautions to avoid that tell tale crash in the middle of Christmas Dinner preparations really is a necessity no matter how well behaved the little ones in your house are.

Christmas tree safety is really about common sense. If something seems like a bad or even marginal idea, then it probably is. Ornaments and lights pose a larger threat than most people give them credit for when it comes to animals and kids, and it’s up to the adults to find safe and attractive methods of dealing with these hazards.

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