How To Keep Your Home Safe This Christmas
Every year, I wax nostalgic about Christmas as a child. I have such fond memories of sitting around the Christmas tree with my family, eating cookies, singing along to Roger Whittaker’s Christmas songs. And, now that I am a parent, these are the remembrances that I want to impart on my children.
So, I find it quite jarring when I hear a story about how a house was destroyed by a fire started by the lights on the family Christmas tree. Talk about ruining Yuletide festivities. Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires result in 21 deaths and $25.2 million in direct property damage (Illinois Home Insurance).
With this in mind, I wanted to share with you a few simple fire safety tips that can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy.
1) If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
2) Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
3) Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1–2” from the base of the trunk.
4) Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
5) Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
6) Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
7) Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
8) Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
9) Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
10) Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
11) Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
We hope that you find these tips helpful! As always, please don’t hesitate to contact any of here at Langlois Insurance Agency with any questions or comments.