In the midst of celebration and joy this holiday season, be mindful of new potential hazards from decorations, festive candles, and especially the Christmas tree. Holiday decorations cause home fires and U.S. fire departments across the country responded to an estimated average of 230 home structure fires that begun with Christmas trees every year. These statistics were measured from 2007 to 2011, according to a fact sheet from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Even more frightening is the mortality rate connected to these fires. Six civilian deaths occur every year from home Christmas tree fires. These tragic occurrences can be limited by increasing safety awareness and taking the proper precautions. On top of that, twenty two civilian injuries were incurred.
- Pick a tree with more green pine needles than brown, due to their more flammable nature.
- Set your tree up away from fireplaces, candles, heaters, lights, stoves, etc.
- Add water daily to keep the tree fresh.
- Check if the lights strung around the tree are for indoor or outdoor. They should also have a label of a recognized testing laboratory.
Your home could be impacted when exposed to these risk factors, too, in addiction to you and your family. $18.3 million in direct property damage occurs every year, as calculated from 2007 to 2011, from Christmas tree fires. Prevent this loss of money and memories by following the above advice, as well as unplugging your tree’s lights whenever you’re not enjoying them. For example, turn the Christmas tree lights off if you step out of the house, or go to sleep. These simple measures can make all the difference.
It’s very important to replace or remove broken wires and lights from decorations. Follow the instructions on the box carefully for connecting light strands, and NEVER use lit candles to light the tree, regardless if the tree is real or synthetic. Electrical failures or malfunctions were involved in about one-third, or 32% of the home Christmas tree structure fires that devastate families every year. One in six of home Christmas tree fires, or 17%, were instigated by keeping a heat source too close to the tree, and 7% were started by candles. Decorative lights were involved in 12% of these incidents.
The NFPA measurement period between 2007-2011 estimates that decorations have curated an annual average of 920 reported home structure fires. These fires have resulted in a very unfortunate estimate of six average civilian deaths and forty seven civilian injuries. Decoration fires have cause an annual $12.9 million in direct property damage, according to the NFPA fact sheet.
Remember, the top three days of the year that home candle fires happen most are Christmas, New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve, according to a NFPA fact sheet. Be mindful during your celebrations to keep your home, friends and family safe.