The National Fire Protection Association reported an average of 170 house fires that were directly caused by Christmas trees. As a result of these house fires, there were approximately four deaths, 15 injuries, and $12 million in property damage each year. A potential Christmas tree fire is a very real risk during your holiday season. Other than purchasing an artificial fire retardant Christmas tree or fire resistant Christmas tree decorations it can be confusing how to best protect yourself from risk during the holidays. Here are some simple tips and tricks on how to fireproof your Christmas tree as well as keep your family safe during this Christmas season.
Christmas Safety TIP 1: Choose the right tree
If you decide to use an artificial tree this holiday season, look for one that is fire resistant. You can find this information in the product description or ask store personnel for assistance. While a fire resistant label on a tree doesn’t mean that they absolutely will not catch fire, fire resistant Christmas trees do take longer than a normal one to catch on fire. Fire resistant artificial trees are also much easier to extinguish compared to non-fire resistant varieties.
If you decide to use a live tree this Christmas season, be sure to check that the tree you purchase is of quality freshness. You can tell the freshness of a Christmas tree by checking that the needles are green and difficult to pull off of the branches. The tree trunk should be somewhat sticky with sap. For a final check tap the butt of the tree on the ground to ensure that only a minimal number of needles fall from the tree.
Christmas Safety TIP 2: Keep your tree well hydrated
In America alone, over 33 million homes use a real Christmas tree every year. Live trees provide a beautiful blend of gorgeous scenery and that lovely pine smell to your Christmas that artificial trees can’t match. Like most plants, real Christmas trees have a short shelf life. They dry out quickly if not properly taken care of. Dry Christmas trees are a huge fire risk. To reduce the risk of a fire in your home be sure to keep your tree watered throughout the holiday season. Below is a recipe that helps to keep your tree fresh, fragrant, and fire resistant longer.
Christmas Safety TIP 3: Fire-Resistant Tree Recipe
- 2 gallons of hot water
- 2 cups of clear Karo Syrup
- 2 ounces of Chlorine Bleach
- 2 teaspoons of Epson Salt
- 1 teaspoon of Chelated Iron
- 1/2 teaspoon of Borax
- Use a two-gallon bucket or jug and fill with hot water until the water is no more than one inch from the top. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix well until all ingredients are thoroughly dissolved.
- Cut a small slab, approximately one inch thick, from the base of the trunk of your Christmas tree. This is to open a fresh layer to the stem of the tree for proper feeding. Try to make your cut as flat and even as possible.
- After trimming a section of the trunk of your Christmas tree, stand your tree into the bucket of solution. Allow the tree stump to soak for no less than 24 hours.
- Do not discard the solution. When 24 hours have passed, secure your Christmas tree into its tree stand that has a watering well. Position the tree so that it is ready for decorations.
- When you have positioned the tree, pour the remaining solution from the soaking bucket into the water well of your tree stand until it is full.
- Every day ensure that the water well of your tree stand is full of solution. Re-fill water well as needed.
These ingredients can be easily found in most stores or even already laying around your kitchen. Chelated Iron can be found in most gardening shops and plant stores.
This recipe works to better hydrate your tree with its unique ingredients. The syrup in the recipe allows the base of your Christmas tree to absorb the mixture more easily. The chemical Boron, which is in the Borax, makes it so that your tree can move the mixture throughout the entire tree. Magnesium that is found in the Iron and the Epson Salt keep your Christmas tree looking greener for longer periods of time. Bleach in the mixture keeps your tree from molding. Overall, the combination of the ingredients in the mixture will keep your needle drop down and your freshness level up as well as adding to that beautiful pine tree aroma.
Please note that while no Christmas tree fireproofing technique works without fail 100% of the time, this recipe will give your Christmas tree the best advantage available at staying fully hydrated and fresh throughout your holiday festivities. Overly dry Christmas trees are one of the top preventable direct causes of seasonal fires. Keep your Christmas tree well hydrated this holiday season with this easy to make fireproof Christmas tree recipe.
Christmas Safety TIP 4: Check your decorations
When shopping for new or used decorations look for nonflammable varieties. These are available in many markets at affordable prices. Also, check the product descriptions of any lights that you purchase for their select safety standard. Reliable Christmas lights are tested in an approved laboratory against a set guideline to ensure they are safe for indoor or outdoor use.
Always be sure to securely fashion any Christmas tree lights or decorations that you intend to place outdoors. Even light wind can pull and tug on hanging strands of Christmas lights causing premature wear and tear on the wiring. Also be sure to check that any lights you place outside are safe for the weather conditions specific to your area.
Never use candles on or near your Christmas trees. Any open flame near your tree is an obvious fire hazard. Also, be aware of any potential risks in the area you do choose to use candles or other open flame sources. Check that curtains are tied up securely and unable to reach the flame. When choosing where to place your candles or open flames be mindful of the possibility of them being bumped into by children, pets, or even guests. Place decorations in low traffic areas of your home.
Always carefully check your Christmas lights or light up decorations for any frayed or broken wires. Damage to any wiring or lights could cause an electrical shortage or shock which can start a fire. Throughout the holiday season continue to monitor your lighting and wires periodically for any new damage.
Unless the included manufacturer instructions state otherwise, no more than three strands of lights should be connected to each other at a single time. It is also recommended to have an extension cord connecting your wall outlet to your strand of lights. Be sure to never overload your homes electrical outlets with more electrical watts than they are manufactured to handle.
Christmas Safety TIP 5: Christmas tree location
Never place your Christmas tree close to your homes heater vents. Be sure to not leave any Christmas lights on overnight or left unattended. When shopping for decorations always look for fire-resistant Christmas tree decorations. If you chose to use an artificial tree look for a fire retardant Christmas tree.
Never place a Christmas tree close to your home fireplaces or any source of heat. Heated rooms dry out Christmas tree more quickly so be aware of your trees hydration needs in accordance with the temperature of your home. It is recommended to only have a live Christmas tree set up for approximately two weeks to ensure proper freshness.
Be sure to place your tree somewhere that is a low traffic area of your home. This is to help ensure that the tree is not easily bumped into or knocked over by guests, children, or animals. A tipped over Christmas tree quickly becomes a serious fire hazard. If possible, place a baby gate or barrier around the location of your Christmas tree to keep the area open and prevent accidents from occurring.
Christmas Safety Tips Summary:
Again, you want to ensure that you purchase an artificial fire resistant Christmas tree or a fresh live tree for your Christmas season. You want to be sure that you have safety approved light strands and decorations and that you check for any damage to the lights and wiring frequently through the holidays. Always unplug your Christmas lights at night or when you leave home. Never leave lights on unattended as a short could quickly cause a fire. Keep your live Christmas trees well hydrated. Use the mixture described above to keep your tree fresh and fire resistant and always be sure to place your tree in a low traffic location of your home. With these simple tips and tricks on how to best keep your Christmas tree fire resistant, you can enjoy a safe and happy holiday with your loved ones.