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Christmas Tree Safety Tips for Your Home

Christmas Tree Safety Tips for Your Home

Fake or live, fir or spruce, Christmas trees are a spectacular holiday tradition. But don't get cozy by the hearth just yet.

Fires related to holiday decorations can be deadly serious. Keep your loved ones safe with our Christmas Tree Safety Tips for Your Home. From choosing the tree to keeping it fresh, we've got advice to help you best!

selecting a tree

Selecting a tree

  • Fresher trees are less likely to catch fire, so look for a tree with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t break easily.
  • Watch out for trees with a greenish cast to their trunks and branches; that can indicate a tree has been sprayed with a colorant.
  • If purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire-Retardant” and a seal from an approved safety testing laboratory if the tress has built-in lights. 
get the tree home

Once you get the tree home

  • Re-cut the trunk at least 1 inch above the old cut as soon as you get it home to allow it to continue drawing moisture into its foliage.
  • Clean your tree stand. Before mounting the tree in a sturdy stand, rinse the stand’s water reservoir with a capful of bleach mixed in water. This reduces the growth of organisms that can block the tree’s intake of water.
  • Trees don’t like heat, so avoid placing it near a heating outlet, fireplace or wood-burning stove. Set your tree up in the coolest location possible.
  • Standard-size Christmas tree lights generate heat that can accelerate the rate at which the tree dries. Miniature lights produce less heat.
christmas tree lights

Christmas lights

  • Use only Underwriters Laboratories (UL)-approved products.
  • Discard any lights with worn insulation, cracked or broken sockets or loose connections.
  • Don’t connect more than three strands of incandescent lights together.
  • Never put lights on metallic trees.
  • Never run extension cords under carpets or across walkways.
christmas tree care

Ongoing care of your Christmas tree

  • Bedtime means lights off! Turn off your Christmas tree lights each night and when you leave the house.
  • Keep the water coming. Never let the water level drop below the bottom of the trunk.
  • Re-fill the tree stand reservoir with lukewarm water, which the tree will draw up more easily than cold water.
  • Remove the tree from your home immediately after Christmas. Even a properly cared-for cut tree will continue to dry out in a home environment.
be prepared

Be prepared

  • Keep a fire extinguisher near a door but away from the tree, and know how to use it.
  • Make sure all your smoke detectors have fresh batteries and test the devices regularly.
  • All family members should know how to call the fire department in the event of an emergency.
  • Make sure your insurance coverage and home inventory are up to date.