Family, the smell of roast turkey, and a big ol’ tree are just a few things we love about the festive season. However, these fun times can go horribly pear-shaped if a fire breaks out mid turkey basting! Unfortunately, the holidays are also a time for increased potential fire hazards as we overload our systems and fill our house with flammable décor. And, the most seemingly innocent culprit? Your beloved Christmas tree.

Did you know that electrical problems cause 25% of home Christmas tree fires? And, that a heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in four fires? With this in mind, below we share a few Christmas tree safety tips, as well as some other hazards to be aware of as we head into the festive season:

Christmas Tree Safety Tips

  • Pick Them Fresh: Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire, so look for a tree with fresh, green needles that don’t break easily from its branches. A freshly-cut tree should not be shedding its needles readily. Keep the tree base filled with water to avoid it drying out. The drier the tree, the more of a fire hazard it becomes.
  • Keep It Away From Heat Sources: Always place your tree far away from any heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights. The branches, needles, and decorations can easily catch fire and combust if they are exposed to heat.
  • Examine Your Lights: Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested in a lab by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety. Throw out or recycle any frayed and worn cables, as well as any damaged lights and bulbs.
  • Switch Off Your Lights: Always switch off your Christmas tree lights when you go to bed and before you leave your house. No matter how pretty they look when they twinkle in the darkness, it’s not worth the risk.
  • Don’t Block an Exit: It’s not something we would really think about, but make sure that your tree is not blocking an exit in and out of your home. This simple decision could make a big difference in the event of a fire.
  • Other Holiday Hazards to Note

    Christmas trees aren’t the only holiday hazard that you need to be aware of come this festive season. Candles, fireplaces, dryers, and heaters can also be potentially dangerous, especially when they are being used overtime with the cold weather that comes with the holidays.

    1. Space Heaters

      Always, always use space heaters with care as they are a common fire hazard. Space heaters should never be used with an extension cord and placed anywhere near anything flammable, especially your Christmas trees, garlands, and tablecloths.

    2. Candles

      Of course, candles can set a festive scene, but they’re also the culprit for a substantial amount of fires each year. This is especially true during the holidays when the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve. Be cautious when decorating with candles, use sturdy candle holders to keep them from tipping over, and always keep them away from all flammable items. Never leave a candle burning unattended, even just for a few minutes.

    3. Extension Cords

      Never use flimsy, frayed, poor-quality, or old extension cords. Invest in heavy-duty and high-quality cords. After all, they could prevent a fire from occurring. Keep in mind that extension cords are only meant to be a temporary solution when your regular appliance cords can’t reach an area, so if you’re using one on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to ask your electrician to install permanent power in the area where you need it.

    4. Dryers

      The number of dryer fires increases in winter and peaks in January. This is mostly because they are over-used in the colder months and not properly maintained or serviced throughout the year. Be sure to empty the lint screen regularly, as trapped lint is a major fire hazard. Also, remove all snow from the outside opening to the dryer vent. It can freeze the vent line, forcing the dryer to work harder, which may cause it to catch fire or create a build-up of carbon monoxide. Have the dryer and the vent line cleaned annually by a professional.

    5. Chimneys and Fireplaces

      According to reports, a leading factor contributing to home fires is the failure to clean chimneys. Fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected by a professional chimney sweep every year. Alongside professional cleaning, homeowners can do the following:

      • Keep the fireplace clear and free of debris
      • Clean the ashes from after each fire
      • Burn only CSIA-accepted manufactured firewood
      • Make sure the damper is fully open before lighting a fire

    We’re Open Over The Holidays

    So there you go, a few simple ways to help keep you home and your loved ones safe this festive season. The last thing you want to deal with over the holidays is a fire–and the potential outcomes. If you do experience a fire, be sure to contact your nearest Restoration 1. Our team of professionals are trained in fire & smoke damage and can get your home back to normal as soon as possible. We’re open 24/7, which means Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. At Restoration 1, we do everything in our power to get your life back on track so that you can go back to roasting that turkey.