Christmas Safety Tips: Christmas Trees

It’s that time of the year again. While large family gatherings might not be as common due to COVID-19, you can still safely decorate and enjoy the holidays with your immediate family.

However you like to decorate, extravagant or simple, one of the most common decorations is the Christmas tree.

There is the age-old debate of artificial vs. real Christmas trees. Both bring pros and cons we could debate until next Christmas, but we’ll discuss safety concerns with both types of trees.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to approximately 160 house fires starting from Christmas trees annually between 2013 to 2017. The same fires caused several deaths and injuries in addition to millions of dollars property damage.

Christmas Tree General Safety Tips

  • Inspect your tree before purchasing, placing, and lighting.
  • Only use UL or ETL listed lights.
  • Turn off lights when going to bed or leaving home.
  • Do not overload power outlets. Connect no more than 3 strings of lights together.
  • Keep Christmas trees away from heat sources like heaters, vents, candles, and fire.
  • Inspect lights for damage or fraying. Discard and replace as they pose a risk of shorting and igniting.

Real Christmas Tree

Safety starts with purchasing the tree. Ensure the needles are fresh and not falling off like Charlie Brown’s poor little tree. Cut about 2 inches from the bottom when you get home in case the bottom already shows signs of drying.

When you place your tree, keep it away from heat sources: fire, candles, heaters, and vents. Approximately 25% of Christmas tree fires occurred due to heat sources too close to the tree, according to the NFPA.

One of the most important safety tips for a real Christmas tree: Water your tree daily. If it does happen to catch on fire, damage may be less catastrophic, shown in the video below.

Dispose of your tree after Santa visits on Christmas or if your tree dries out. Not keeping it around when unsafe or no longer needed prevents Christmas tree fires. The NFPA estimated 25% of Christmas tree fires occurred outside of December or January.

Artificial Christmas Tree

Now, you may think artificial Christmas trees protect from fire. However, artificial trees can be just as dangerous as real trees. Under the right circumstances, an artificial Christmas tree can still catch on fire regardless of flame-resistance.

Just like real Christmas trees, keep your artificial tree away from fire, candles, heaters, and vents.

If your artificial Christmas tree uses integrated lights, ensure the tree is UL or ETL listed and do not overload the tree’s sockets. Check the packaging or instructions before use to learn the tree’s limitations.

Inspect the wiring before use, to prevent any electrical mishaps.

From HomElectrical, we hope you stay safe and enjoy the holidays with your loved ones!

Mark Watola
Mark Watola

Mark graduated with a B.S in Communications from Kennesaw State University in 2020. Enlisted in the United States Marine Corps from 2012 to 2016, Mark operated as a Photojournalist and Correspondent at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Public Affairs Office. Learning from his time in the military, Mark prides himself on having an adaptable and mission-based mindset with a willingness to work cooperatively to craft quality content.

Need Assistance?