It’s pretty hard not to notice the merry transformation happening in cities, towns and neighborhoods across the country as homes and businesses decorate for the holidays. To make sure this year will be a very happy holiday season, the American Christmas Tree Association (ACTA) is urging consumers to take special precautions with their Christmas trees and Christmas lights to avoid Christmas tree fires.
“If your household includes a natural tree in its festivities, the first thing to remember is to keep the tree well watered. Dry and neglected trees can be a fire waiting to happen,” said Jami Warner, Executive Director of ACTA. “If ignited, a dry tree can become engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds, as opposed to tree that has been well-watered,” Warner added.
Underwriters Laboratory, the independent product safety certification organization, urges consumers to dispose of their real Christmas trees after four weeks of use. “If you were one of the tens of millions of people who put their tree up over the Thanksgiving weekend, make sure you take it down immediately after Christmas to ensure a safe remainder of the holiday season,” Warner stressed. “This information may come as a surprise to most real tree users who are used to keeping their trees up until the first of the year, but safety first!” she added.
ACTA recommends regularly checking trees for fresh, green needles. Trees that have dried out over several weeks are more likely to ignite if exposed to a spark or open flame than fresh, well-watered trees.
When it comes to the all-important Christmas lights, ACTA recommends using only lights that have been tested for safety, whether using them indoors or outside. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using. “It’s also important to make sure to use no more than three standard-size sets of lights plugged in end-to-end,” said Warner, “more than this can overload the light sets or extension cords.”
“The safest way to celebrate Christmas is to use artificial Christmas trees,” said Warner. “However, many households prefer their tradition of celebrating with a fresh cut Christmas tree. In these cases, we recommend following these Christmas tree safety tips to ensure a safe Christmas holiday.”