How to Avoid Christmas Tree Fires This Holiday Season

A beautifully dressed Christmas tree is often the focal point of your home's holiday décor, but it's important to make sure that all those gorgeous decorations don't create a Christmas tree fire hazard. According to a report from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of 210 home structure fires occurred annually between 2009 and 2013, resulting in $17.5 million in direct property damage each year. As you decorate your home for the holiday season – especially if you're using a real tree – reduce your risk of a Christmas tree fire with these easy tips from the fire restoration experts at ServiceMaster of Calgary.

Artificial Trees

  • Only purchase an artificial tree that has been certified and labeled by an independent testing laboratory as "flame retardant". 

Real Trees 

To reduce the risk of Christmas tree fire hazards when using a real tree, consider the following safety tips:

  • Only choose a tree with fresh, green needles that don't fall off when touched or gently shaken
  • Cut two inches from the base of the tree before placing it in a stand
  • Keep your tree watered so it doesn't dry out

Remember: Dry, un-watered trees catch fire more easily. Watch the Christmas tree fire video below to see how quickly a dry, un-watered tree can catch fire. 

Whether your tree is real or artificial, the location of your Christmas tree can either increase or decrease the potential risk of fires. To reduce the risk of a Christmas tree fire, always keep your tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source, including fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, heat vents or radiators.  A quarter of all Christmas tree fires were caused by some type of heat source too close to the tree. To make it easy to escape and protect yourself in the event of a fire, make sure your Christmas tree does not block any exits or pose a tripping hazard. 

Holiday lights add a bright touch to any home's holiday décor, whether they're wrapped around trees, garlands and wreaths strung on the inside of a window or draped across cabinets, banisters, and mantles.  However, if you ignore basic string light safety protocols, the risk of a fire starting increases. In fact, electrical problems from decorative lights, wiring, cords or plugs sparked one in every three home Christmas tree fires. Avoid starting a fire with all those beautiful lights by following these easy tips:

  • Use lights that have been tested for indoor use by an independent testing lab
  • Never use light strands labeled for outdoor use on an indoor Christmas tree or anywhere else inside
  • Check all strands for cracks, frays and damage before use
  • Connect no more than three strands of mini-lights together
  • Don't overload your outlets or power strips
  • Never run an extension cord under your rugs
  • Always turn the Christmas tree lights off when sleeping or away from home
  • Only decorate your tree and home with flame retardant and flame resistant decorations
  • Never decorate a Christmas tree with real, lit candles

Use these simple safety precautions to avoid a Christmas tree fire this season. If, despite your best efforts, your home does suffer a fire emergency and you need help with repairs or restoration, trust the professional team at ServiceMaster of Calgary to come up with a customized fire clean and remediation plan. We're here 24/7/365 to help ensure your holidays stay both safe and stress-free.