If you display a Christmas tree in your home every December, no doubt you’ve already put yours up and have decorated it by now.
And while it’s getting a little late to dig your artificial tree out of storage or go out and chop one down or buy one at a lot, it’s not too late to check on a few safety issues you might have overlooked in all the holiday festivities.
Both real and artificial trees can pose a hazard in your home if they are not properly cared for.
In fact, according to the Christmas Tree Association (yes, Virginia, there really is such an organization), Christmas trees result in approximately $13 million in property damage each year.
Following are a few brief reminders and tips regarding how to keep your tree, your home and your family safe until you toss out that tree or box it up for the next Christmas season.
- If you are using a natural tree and did not make a fresh cut about two inches above the tree’s base before setting it in the stand and placing it in water, you can still do that.
- Keep your real tree’s water container full at all times, checking the water level daily. (In addition to the tree soaking up water, you may just happen to have a dog or cat who likes to sneak a drink now and then.)
- If your Christmas tree is anywhere near a heat register, space heater, fireplace, wood stove, candle, television, computer monitor or other heat source, move it now. It’s much better to have a tree in a less than ideal spot than it is to have it catch on fire.
- And speaking of the positioning of your tree, make sure it is away from doors so that your emergency exit route is not blocked by the tree or packages near it.
- Check all Christmas tree lights, other electric decorations and electrical appliances for wear (frayed cords, for example), even if you’ve already strung all your lights.
- Make sure those electrical decorations and extension cords are all UL-approved.
- Be sure to unplug your tree lights and decorations when you go out, even if it’s just a quick errand. Also, turn them off when you go to bed.
- If your tree is real, check its needles daily to make sure they are not getting too brittle. The drier the tree, the more likely it is to catch on fire.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy, just in case.
We at 4Patriots wish you Happy Holidays and a joyous New Year!