The winter months are the peak time for fires, and Christmas trees placed too close to a heat source cause 1 in every 4 of those fires.1 Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and safe holiday season.

Christmas Tree Safety

  • Select a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.2
  • Cut tree bases at a 45 degree angle and place in water.3
  • Keep trees away from heat sources.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Decorations should be non-flammable or flame retardant.
  • Never use lit candles on a tree.4
  • Only lighting that has been reviewed by a nationally recognized organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), should be used.
  • Check light strings for frayed wire or other defects before use and replace as needed.
  • Make sure you place lights correctly, as most lights are designed for either indoor use or outdoor use only.5
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands that can be safely connected.
  • Turn off tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Be sure to add water daily. A dry tree is dangerous because it can catch on fire easily.6
  • When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.
  • Check with your local community to find a tree recycling program.7

General Fire Safety

  • Smoke alarms should be on every level of a home, including outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom.8
  • Alarms should be connected for the best protection, so when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms monthly by pushing the test button to make sure they’re still operational.
  • Replace smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
  • Plan and practice a home fire escape drill that includes two ways out of every room.
  • When entertaining guests, make sure they’re aware of escape routes.

 
Sources:

  1. https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/holiday_infographic.pdf

2, 7. https://www.nfpa.org//-/media/Files/Public-Education/Resources/Safety-tip-sheets/ChristmasTreeSafetyTips.pdf

3, 6. https://www.usfa.fema.gov/img/pubs/tree_hangtag1.314×710.jpg

  1. https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Top-fire-causes/Candles
  1. https://www.nfpa.org//-/media/Files/Public-Education/Resources/Safety-tip-sheets/Winter_Holiday_Safety.pdf
  1. https://www.nfpa.org/~/media/files/public-education/resources/safety-tip-sheets/religious_candles_safety_tips.pdf

 

 


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Megan Makula

Merchants Insurance Group

Merchants Insurance Group sells its products through a network of more than 1,000 independent insurance agents in Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. We sell our products through independent insurance agents because we believe they provide value to policyholders through their broad range of products and their insurance expertise.