Picking out and decorating a Christmas tree is a timeless tradition. It’s a wonderful way to get in the holiday spirit and create memories with family.
But these beautiful decorations are highly flammable and, if mishandled, can become accident magnets.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were an average of 160 Christmas tree fires between 2016 and 2020, which caused millions in property damage, injuries, and even death.
Before you put yours up this year, brush up on Christmas tree safety with these key tips to minimize the risk of accidents and fires.
Christmas Tree Safety Tips for a Risk-Free Holiday
Proper Christmas tree safety starts when picking out your tree.
You’ll want to choose a fresh one with green needles that don’t easily fall off when you pull on the branches. The trunk should also have a healthy amount of resin on it.
Old, dried-out trees are much bigger fire hazards, and these signs let you know that your tree still has plenty of life left to last the holiday.
Christmas Tree Safety: Setting Up
Once you’ve found the perfect one, make sure to cut two inches off the base at a forty-five-degree angle before you set it up. This trim ensures that your tree can absorb water better, keeping it fresher for longer.
Next, check that your tree stand can reliably support your Christmas tree throughout the holiday season. If it’s too small or can’t hold enough water to properly nourish your tree, pick up an appropriate-sized model. A falling tree can easily land on a heat source like a candle, fireplace, or radiator and start a fire.
When setting up your tree, place it out of the way of any doorways or exits and at least three feet away from any heat sources (candles, fireplaces, radiators, electronics, heaters, heat vents, lights, etc.).
Throughout the Christmas season, keep a close eye on the tree stand’s water level and refill it daily. Christmas trees can drink a lot of water, so you may need to top it off more often—especially the first day after setup.
Christmas Tree Safety: Decorating Your Tree
There’s a lot to keep in mind when decorating your Christmas tree, so we condensed it into this easily digestible list. Check it out:
- Avoid flammable tree decorations whenever possible, and never use real candles.
- Before adorning your tree, check all lights for frayed cords, broken bulbs, and other damage. If there’s anything wrong with them, repair them or get a new set.
- Any string lights you use should be inspected by a trusted testing laboratory. Check the label before putting them on your tree.
- Always use a step ladder or sturdy stool when decorating the top of the tree to prevent falls.
- Don’t let any cables or wires near the water in the tree stand.
- Avoid running electric cables underneath rugs.
- Keep curious youngsters and animals away from cords and string lights to prevent tangling, chewed wires, and, worst of all, a fallen tree.
- If you have kids, avoid sharp and fragile decorations whenever possible. If you have sentimental ornaments that are easily breakable, keep them well out of reach or consider placing them somewhere safer, like a shelf or your mantel.
- Make sure to turn off all the lights on your tree before you go to bed or leave your home unattended.
Christmas Tree Safety: When the Party’s Over
It’s nice to enjoy the beauty and smell of your Christmas tree after the holiday has passed, but once it starts shedding needles, it’s time to say goodbye.
Realistically, it’s best to dispose of your tree about a month after you bring it home. But how often does anybody stick to that rule?
Remember, as your tree gets older and drier, your risk of fire increases.
So, when it’s time to get rid of it, you can take it to a recycling center or see if your local community has a pick-up service.
Whatever you do, don’t hide it in the garage or lean it against the house. It’s not worth the risk.
Christmas Tree Safety: Preparing for Emergencies
As hectic as the holidays can be, accidents are bound to happen—even when we take the proper precautions. That’s why it’s crucial to prepare for the unexpected.
The best way to ensure Christmas tree safety this year is to have a fast and hassle-free way to get help in an emergency…
And nothing is faster than the Rescu app.
Rescu lets you instantly dispatch fire, police, or ambulance services to your preset address with just two taps on your phone or Apple Watch—no talking required.
Just select the service you need, tap “Send Alert,” and Rescu’s private UL-Certified monitoring center will send help directly to you. It’s that simple. You’ll never have to speak with a dispatcher or answer any questions if you can’t or don’t want to.
The app also immediately notifies your pre-registered emergency contacts, so your friends and loved ones will know you’re in trouble.
This time of year, 911 centers are often backed up with holiday emergency calls.
Thanks to Rescu’s private dispatch center, you’ll never have to worry about being placed on hold, rerouted, or going unanswered.
For Christmas tree safety, everyday emergencies, and 24/7 protection, the Rescu app is the fastest way to get help.
Give yourself the gift of peace of mind this holiday season, and download Rescu today.