November 28, 2012
Filed under: Blog | Posted by: brent
While Christmas trees go up in homes throughout the country, property damage risks also go up. In fact, Christmas trees account for 250 fires annually, resulting in 14 deaths, 26 injuries and more than $13.8 million in property damage, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).
In addition, one out of every 18 reported fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in death, while a heat source too close to the Christmas tree started one of every five (20 percent) of these fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Meanwhile, 18 percent of home Christmas tree structure fires were intentionally set, while half of the intentional Christmas tree fires occurred in January and may have been related to disposal.
The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) urges everyone to have a safe holiday season by reducing their risks of a Christmas tree fire using information below from USFA and NFPA. Additional winter weather resources are available through the IBHS website.
Purchasing the Right Tree:
Check for freshness of a live tree before purchasing. Buy a fresh tree that is green and needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. In addition, the trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles. How important is having a fresh tree in your home? Watch the video below from NFPA and Underwriter Laboratories.
Place your tree away from a fireplace, radiators, or any other heating sources. Also, place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
Shorts in electrical lights or flames from candles, lighters or matches are typically the cause for tree fires. Provide plenty of water for your tree throughout the season to prevent a dry tree that is susceptible to these common causes of tree fires.
Purchase an artificial tree that includes the label “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.