The Christmas tree is the centerpiece of the room for the holidays. For those who choose a live tree, it can also be one of the most unsafe decorations in the home. Real trees give the home a natural pine scent as well as an added touch of Christmas spirit. There are certain steps that must be taken to keep the tree looking nice as well as keeping it safe from the dangers that naturally come with them.
Christmas Tree Safety for the Home
Electric- Check all cords to the lights placed on the trees to make sure they are safe. FEMA warns that 14 deaths and 26 injuries occur every year in the United States because of electrical fires caused by Christmas tree decorations. Make sure there are no wires exposed and that the lights are working properly before placing them on the tree. If the lights seem to fade or blink (unless they are supposed to blink), do not place them on the tree.
Tree Stand- Choosing the right tree stand for a real tree is utterly important to safety. The tree stand keeps the tree from falling over on someone or something. A real tree is much heavier than an artificial tree. The base should be heavy and sturdy. The base should also be wide enough to balance the tree so it does not tumble over. Do not use a tree stand meant for an artificial tree.
Water- Always be sure the water is full in the tree stand. Check the stand every day and replenish water when necessary. If the tree is not kept watered, the needles dry out much faster and are more likely to catch on fire. Many people have lost their homes just before Christmas simply because they did not keep their real tree watered enough.
Vacuum- Needles from real trees begin to fall off almost as soon as the Christmas tree is erected. Keep the dead needles vacuumed. This should be done every day. The needles can be painful if stepped on. Children and pets have a habit of eating anything they find. Keeping the needles vacuumed keeps baby and pets from putting them in their mouth thus causing illness or getting cuts in the mouth.
Children and Pets- Children and pets love the lights on the Christmas tree. They do not know that they should not touch the tree, eat off the tree or run around the tree. More importantly, they often do not heed the warnings to stay away from the Christmas tree because it is just too tempting. Keep a close eye on children and pets to be sure they do not pull the tree down or eat things off it. This is one of the most dangerous possibilities aside from fire.
Placement- According to the NFPA¸ one in every five Christmas tree fires occurs because the tree was placed too close to the homes heating source. Place the tree away from the heater and away from the homes exits. Do not be the one in five, play it safe.
Real Christmas trees are a must-have for many people. People enjoy the fun of heading out to a field to choose the perfect Christmas tree. A real tree takes a lot of care. It is a temporary commitment the safety of the home and the people in that home. Before choosing the tree, be certain you are prepared to make a commitment to the necessary work.