We gather around them, decorate them, sing songs about them, but is your Christmas tree a personal liability? This time of year, no one wants to put their friends and family in danger, but the fact remains that each year more than 400 Americans die in holiday season fires and 1,650 more are injured. In fact, Christmas trees alone are responsible for more than $16 million in property damages each year. And if you have an artificial tree, you may still not be out of the woods.
Of course, we’re not here to rain on your holiday parade, but those of you with Christmas trees in your home (and that seems to be the vast majority) should take the proper precautions to make sure that your holidays stay merry. The U.S. Fire Administration has offered some great advice on keeping your home merry – and accident free – this Christmas season.
Water, water, water: Listen to your tree salesman. Well-watered trees are much less likely to catch fire when an open flame or frayed electrical wire is close by.
Freshness: You’ll know a fresh tree by its needles – they should be green and difficult to pull back from the branches. A sticky trunk is also a good indicator of a fresh tree.
Tree placement: Pick a good spot for your tree – away from heat sources, fireplaces, or vents. If you smoke, take care not to flick ashes near the tree.
Disposal: When your tree is dry, discard it by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service. Never use dry branches or needles as kindling in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.
Lights: Check all strings of light thoroughly to make sure there are no frayed wires. Replace any damaged light strings.
A safe holiday is the merriest, so remember to take the proper precautions so you can enjoy all the wonders the season has in store for you and your family. From all of us here at Tingey Injury Law Firm, merry Christmas to you and yours!