Easy Home Maintenance

Christmas Tree Safety 101

‘Tis the season! People are putting up their Christmas trees and decorating for the holidays.

Safety first during the holidays!

Christmas trees don't catch fire that often, but when they do, they are more likely to destroy homes and kill people. Don’t become a statistic! Stay safe with your tree this year with these tips:

1. Pick a fresh tree

Make sure the Christmas tree you select is fresh and hydrated

If you’ve decided to go with a real tree this year, make sure you pick one that is ‘fresh cut’. Give the needles a feel to make sure they don’t fall off as soon as you touch them. Additionally, take a look at the trunk to see if there’s sap visible.

Once you get the tree home, cut about 2” off the base of the trunk before placing it into the stand. This will help the tree stay hydrated for longer, giving it life throughout the holiday season.

2. Artificial tree safety

If your family prefers the ease of an artificial tree, then make sure the tree you select is approved by the Canadian Safety Association. If you see the CSA logo on it, then the tree should have a fire resistant coating on it.

Never use electric lights on a metal tree because they can actually charge the tree and electrocute anything that touches it. This can cause sparks, which can lead to house fires.

3. Tree stand

Whether your tree is real or not, make sure that your tree stand is stable enough to withstand pets and children. If the tree is live, you should also be able to have water in the stand at all times to keep it hydrated.

4. Placement

This tree is probably a little too close to that fireplace!

When deciding where to put your tree, make sure that it’s at least 3' away from any heat source including fireplaces, candles, vents, etc. It also should not block doorways or be in the middle of a highly trafficked area of your house.

5. Water frequently

A 6' Christmas tree required about 1 gallon of water every other day. Watering your live tree often will help preserve it throughout the holiday season and will ensure it stays hydrated, decreasing the chances of it catching on fire.

6. Pick the lights

When selecting the lights to use on your tree, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a live tree or an artificial one. What does matter is that they are specifically designed for indoor use. Make sure that they are low energy and have been certified by CSA.

Before putting them on the tree, inspect the lights and cords. If the wires are frayed or bare, throw them out. If there’s broken or cracked sockets or loose connections anywhere, throw them out.

Once you’ve deemed them safe, plug them in and make sure that all of the bulbs are working and replace any bulbs that aren’t. This will be much easier before putting them on the tree.

7. Plug lights in safely

Don't overload your plugs or daisy chain extension cords. Image from Flickr

Speaking of plugging in your lights, make sure you’re doing it safely once they are on the tree. Never run extension cords under a carpet, out a window or through a doorway where they could become pinched or someone could trip on them.

We highly recommend buying the exact right number of strings of lights, the right length of extension cords, etc. and then exclusively use them for this purpose. That way, you won't need to daisy chain whatever extension cords you find in your house, which can cause sparks and fuses to blow.

You should never string more than three strings of lights together and don’t overload extension cords, or plugs. If you find you’re blowing through fuses during the holiday season then you’ve probably overloaded somewhere. Also make sure that they are fully plugged in since they can spark if they aren't.

8. Turn the lights off

Never leave the lights on your tree on when you’re not home or when you go to sleep. Every night before bed, make sure that they are safely unplugged.

9. Smoke detector & carbon monoxide detector

This is the perfect time of year to make sure the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detector are working!

10. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby

Keep a fire extinguisher close to your tree at all times.

You should always have one handy in the kitchen year round. But if your tree is on the other side of the house, why not keep another one nearby - just to be safe?

11. Disposal

Never keep live trees longer than necessary. After Christmas is over, check daily to see if the needles fall off the tree when you touch it. This signals that it’s time for the tree to go.

Never put the tree in with your regular garbage. Check with your garbage pickup company or city to see when their Christmas tree pickup days are, there’s usually a few a week or two after Christmas.

Stay safe this holiday season!

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Katherine Wellman

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Toronto, Ontario http://jiffyondemand.com