Georgetown Insurance Agency

Christmas Tree & Holiday Lighting Safety

by Treva Cassidy, CISR, ACSRC on Dec 4, 2013

Thanksgiving has come and gone already!  It's that time of year again, and you probably just realized that you only have 3 weekends to set up your tree and your holiday lights! Christmas trees and holiday lighting are beautiful ways to celebrate the season but they are not without their risks:

  • One of every three home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems. Typically, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires.  Check your light strands and keep flames away from your tree.
  • Well-watered trees pose less of a risk. A dry and neglected tree can be very dangerous.  Keep your tree well watered. This dramatic clip illustrates what happens when fire touches a dry tree and a properly maintained, well-watered tree.
  • Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires.
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 11% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year. More than half (56%) of      home candle fires occur when something that can catch on fire is too close to the candle.  Keep flammable items away from candles or use flameless candles.
  • Before decorating the exterior of your home, make sure you check all of your light strands for damaged wires and follow all the UL recommendations, especially the maximum number of strands that can be used together.  Don't overload your outlets with multiple items.
  • Keep all Holiday lighting turned off when you are not home, always keep a fire extinguisher nearby and check to make sure your smoke detectors are working.

Sources: National Fire Protection Association & YouTube

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