How to Prevent Christmas Tree Fires in Santa Monica Homes

SANTA MONICA, CA – The holidays are here in Santa Monica, and your family has probably already made one of the toughest decisions of the season: buying a real or fake Christmas tree.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, up to 30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States each year. While some prefer real trees as a renewable, recyclable resource, others often view a real tree as a “simple treat” during the Christmas season.

There are a few downsides – though not many – to buying a real Christmas tree. Most consumers can expect to pay a little more this year – around 5-10 percent – thanks to weather issues and higher shipping costs.

If you’re not careful or take the necessary precautions, your real Christmas tree – as well as your family’s memories – could go up in flames.

U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 Christmas tree fires each year between 2015 and 2019, the latest data available from the National Fire Protection Association. These fires left two dead, more than a dozen injured and more than $ 10 million in direct property damage.

Many people who choose a real tree either cut it down themselves or often buy it pre-cut. Buying a real tree requires extra care so that the trees don’t dry out and become a fatal house fire.

And it doesn’t take long before a fire becomes fatal.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted a live Christmas tree burn to demonstrate how quickly Christmas tree fires can ignite when needles break from underwater exposure.

Trees can be completely devoured in seconds and then ignite anything in the way of the flames. In comparison, an electric fire lit on a well-watered tree during a demonstration did not spread at all.

Here are a few other quick facts about Christmas tree fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Electrical or lighting systems were responsible for almost half of all Christmas tree fires.
  • More than a fifth of Christmas tree fires happened because the tree was too close to a heat source.
  • About 1 in 5 Christmas tree fires were intended. These were usually discontinued in January.
  • More than 2 out of 5 Christmas tree fires broke out in the living room.
  • Artificial trees are not entirely safe from the risk of fire. Still, if you have an artificial tree, be careful not to place it too close to a source of heat and use appropriate lighting as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

You can prevent Christmas tree fires by taking some additional safety precautions recommended by the National Fire Protection Association.

Pick the tree

Choose one with fresh, green needles that won’t fall off when you touch them.

Place the tree

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut off 2 inches from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least 3 feet away from any source of heat, including chimneys, radiators, candles, heat vents, or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Make sure you add water every day.

Light the tree

  • Use lights marked by a recognized test laboratory. Some lights are only suitable for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace all string lights with worn or broken cables or loose lamp connections. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for how many strands of light you can connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off the Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

SEE MORE: Los Angeles County Holiday Event Guide 2021: Christmas & Santa Claus

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