Christmas Tree Safety

Facts and Figures

A fire on any day seems bad, but a fire on Christmas seems to be the worst. Some 300 Christmas trees caught fire in one recent year, with electrical problems the most common culprit. 

Safety Tips

  • When you buy your tree, have the vendor make a fresh cut an inch from the bottom; this will help the tree drink.
  • If you buy your tree early and keep it outside, store it away from wind and sun, and keep the bottom in a bucket of water.
  • Make sure your lights are safe. If you need outdoor lights, make sure the ones you buy are meant for outdoor use. Make sure your lights carry certification from a testing laboratory.
  • Don’t use electric lights on a metal tree.
  • Discard any strings of lights that are frayed or broken. Christmas lights are cheap.
  • Unplug your Christmas tree before you leave or go to bed.
  • Don’t buy a tree that is dry and dropping needles. To check for freshness, loosely grip the end of a branch and pull your hand over it. Only a few needles should fall off.
  • Make sure your tree stand holds plenty of water, and don’t let it run out.
  • If your tree seems wobbly, center it in the stand more securely and redo the bolts or screws. Or, if your tree stand is cheap, buy a larger, stronger one.
  • If you buy an artificial tree, make sure it is fire-retardant.
  • Keep your tree at least three feet from furnaces, radiators and fireplaces.
  • Try to position it near an outlet so that cords are not running long distances. Do not place the tree where it may block exits.
  • When Christmas is over or when the tree starts to drop needles, dispose of it. Don’t leave it in your house or put it in your garage.
  • Keep a close eye on small children when they are around the tree; many small decorations and ornaments are sharp, breakable and can be swallowed .