While an exciting event for families, it’s important to keep fire and home safety top of mind as you select your tree, hang your favorite ornaments and pile the presents underneath.

According to USAToday, “Christmas tree fires tend to be more deadly than typical home fires.” Stay safe while enjoying your favorite holiday pastime with these tips.

Choose Your Tree Wisely

As you search for the perfect tree in size and shape, look also for one that is well hydrated, as it will pose less of a fire threat.

Rich green pines are good signs that your tree isn’t too dry. If the tree is dropping lots of needles, then it’s probably already starting to dry out.

Properly Place Your Tree in Your Home

Now that you’ve found the perfect, well-hydrated tree, prepare to bring it into your home by following these tips:

  • Prior to bringing it inside, make a fresh cut on the base of the tree. Similar to cutting flower stems before placing in a vase, this ensures that your tree will be able to drink the water you provide.
  • Clear a space for the tree’s placement as well as a path to get there./li>
  • Place the tree away from heat sources—such as fireplaces, radiators and vents. A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every six Christmas tree fires.
  • Place a tree skirt down so that any fallen pines are aggregated for easy clean up.
  • Invest in a tree stand that can hold water so that you can regularly water and hydrate your tree.
  • Place your tree near a fire or smoke detector. If something does go wrong, you will be alerted more quickly than if the detector is far away from the source.

Decorate Your Tree with Safety in Mind

Its time for the best part: decorating! As you buy decorations or bring up previous years’ decorations from the basement, inspect them. In particular, look for frayed edges or loose bulbs on Christmas lights, as these may put you at risk for a fire.

In addition, battery-powered Christmas lights tend to be a safer option than traditional outlet operated lights, as they are less likely to short wire. One out of every three Christmas tree fires is due to faulty electric wiring.

If you have pets or small children, limit your decorations to the top two-thirds of the tree. Pets and kids tend to play with Christmas lights and other decorations in reach.

Water Your Tree Daily

Keep your tree hydrated by watering it daily. A tree will stop taking water once it dries out. When this happens, dispose of it.

The above recommendations are meant to guide you toward a safer holiday season. Use best judgment to keep your family’s safety in mind.

What precautions do you take to prevent Christmas tree fires?

Image Source: US CPSC via FlickR