This articles was previously published on December 10, 2013 and updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.
While an indoor Christmas tree has become a staple for many families celebrating the holiday season, 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. Christmas tree fires tend to be more dangerous than traditional house fires, causing significant damage to properties and resulting in serious injuries.
Don’t let a simple mishap ruin the holiday season. Vector Security wants everybody to have a safe and happy holiday. We have prepared some to help prevent Christmas tree fires in your home. Continue reading to learn more.
Choose the Right Tree for Your Home
One of the best parts of the season is driving to the local Christmas tree farm and selecting the perfect tree for your home. The first thing you should consider before purchasing is where you’ll be putting the tree. Most people put them in their living room, but that’s entirely up to you.
You should know the height of the location to give your tree enough space. The standard ceiling height is approximately 9 ft for most modern homes. However, there can be a lot of variability, so you probably want to measure the area yourself with a tape measure to confirm. Once you know the height, you should give yourself at least six inches of space from the tip of the tree. And if you’re using a tree topper, you want to subtract another foot from the length of the tree.
It's important to tell the tree distributor the ideal height for your Christmas tree. They’ll either trim the tree you want to size or find one that fits your height. As you search for the perfect tree, look 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 Inside Your Home
Now that you’ve found the perfect Christmas tree, here’s what you can do to ensure it isn’t a fire safety concern inside your home:
- Before bringing it inside, make a fresh cut on the base of the tree. Similar to cutting flower stems before placing them 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.
- 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 five Christmas tree fires.
- Place a tree skirt down so that any fallen pines are aggregated for easy cleanup.
- Invest in a tree stand that can hold water so that you can regularly water and hydrate your tree. Keep your tree hydrated by watering it daily. A tree will stop taking water once it dries out. When this happens, dispose of it.
- 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 Fire Safety in Mind
Decorating the tree and getting presents ready is often the most fun part. Unfortunately, Christmas tree fires can also be attributed to ornaments, lights, and presents. 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, faulty electrical wiring is another key attributor to Christmas tree fires. Battery-powered Christmas lights tend to be a safer option than traditional outlet-operated ones, as they are less likely to short wire. 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.
As for presents, ensure they’re not too close to any heaters, radiators, vents, fireplaces, etc. You also want to be careful about lighting candles by presents and the Christmas tree.
Keep Your Home Protected this Holiday Season
There are a lot of fire safety concerns that come with having your own Christmas tree. But if you’re careful, the Christmas season should go off without a hitch. One of the best ways to ensure your home is protected during the holidays and the rest of the year is with a smart home security system. Learn more about how Vector Security can keep your home and family protected by contacting us today.