All About Christmas Tree Safety

Follow a few simple fire prevention rules to prevent Christmas tree fires

Keep your Christmas tree fire-safe by keeping it watered. Buy it fresh, pull light plugs overnight, keep it well away from candles and fireplaces, and other fire prevention tips.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Christmas tree safety

Every year Christmas trees start fires. You can prevent most of these fires by following simple rules. First off, choose a recently cut, healthy tree. A fresh tree holds moisture better. Grab a tree branch and run your hand over it—no more than a few needles should fall off. As soon as you get the tree home, cut 1/2 in. off the trunk and place the tree in a bucket of water until you're ready to bring it into the house. When you set the tree up to decorate it, make sure it's stable in the stand and won't tip over, and water it frequently. A 6-ft. tree needs about 1 gallon of water every other day.

When decorating, use lights rated for indoor use that don't create heat (such as LED lights). And don't overload your electrical outlet. If you want to power dozens of strands of lights and other electric decorations, plug them into different circuits around the house. If you continually blow a circuit, it's probably overloaded.

Here are some other tips:

  • Don't use electric lights on a metal tree.
  • Unplug tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Keep the tree at least 3 ft. from candles and fireplaces.

A new Christmas Tree Safety System by LifeKeeper is designed to detect low water in the tree stand and send a warning if a fire starts (see photo). Place the system's low water detector in the tree stand. It'll send an audio alert and trigger flashing lights on the attached heat sensor angel if the water level gets too low.

The ornamental angel, attached to the tree, signals a remote alarm if it senses heat, warning you that a fire could start or has started. The alarm plugs into the wall.

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