How to Prevent Christmas Tree Fires

Don’t you just love Christmas trees? The wonderful pine smell, the beautiful twinkling lights, treasured ornaments, memories. There’s nothing like putting up the Christmas tree to get you in the holiday spirit! Oh…and don’t forget the presents underneath!

Some of those special ornaments adorning the tree may have been handmade by your children, or you when you were a kid. Maybe they were gifts from loved ones, or perhaps even family heirlooms being passed down. The carefully-chosen (possibly quite expensive) gifts under the tree, which kids (of all ages) are anxiously awaiting Christmas morning to open – these are all things you want to preserve, no doubt.

We want Orange County residents to preserve their holiday keepsakes, purchased gifts, homes, and families this Christmas season. 

Did you know, it takes less than 60 seconds for a Christmas tree to go up in flames? You probably won’t even realize it’s happening in that time, especially if you’re asleep in bed.

Christmas tree fires cause on average 4 deaths, 21 civilian fire injuries and $17 million in direct property damage per year.

The National Fire Protection Association states that although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur they are likely to be serious.

Get this: 1 in every 3 home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems, and roughly 1 in 6 are caused by a heat source too close to the tree!

We urge you to please take the time to keep your Orange County family and home safe this winter by reading our Christmas tree safety tips:

  • If buying a real tree, always choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut a hole two inches from the bottom of the trunk. This will allow it to take up more water and stay hydrated.
  • Don’t forget to add water to the tree stand, and to top it up every other day or, better yet, daily.
  • Make sure your pets aren’t drinking the water out of your tree stand or chewing on light strands.
  • Keep the tree at least 3 feet away from any heat sources – including fireplaces, candles, radiators, heating vents or lights.
  • Do not block doors or exits with the tree.
  • Choose tree lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory and that are for indoor use.
  • Check your existing light strings for worn or broken cords and loose bulb connections and replace them.
  • If you’re connecting lights together, don’t string together more than three strands of mini lights and a maximum of 50 for screw-in bulbs. If unsure, check the manufacturer’s instructions, especially for the new LED lights.
  • NEVER use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off tree lights before going to bed and when leaving the house.
  • After Christmas, take down the tree and dispose of it as soon as possible. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the house OR put in the garage. Don’t lean it up against the side of your house, either!
  • Pack away outdoor lights after Christmas to prevent hazards and to make the lights last longer.

Remember, house fires are almost always covered by your insurance company (don’t get any ideas—arson is never covered!), but a house fire is a devastating experience, especially at the holidays, and even moreso if you lose a loved one. Please take precautions to stay safe and have a wonderful Christmas.

From all of us at Milestone Building Group, we’d like to wish all of Orange County a delightful Christmas!

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