One of the biggest traditions associated with Christmas is putting up and decorating a Christmas tree, whether it's real or artificial. If you'll be cutting your own tree down, purchasing one from a retailer or picking out a suitable artificial tree this year, there are a few safety tips that you should keep in mind when it comes to putting up and trimming your tree. Here are the top five safety tips to consider this holiday season.
Inspect your Christmas lights
Before you start wrapping your tree in Christmas lights, do a test run to make sure that the lights are functioning properly in order to prevent fires. Look over the whole length of the string to make sure that there are no broken or loose bulbs or exposed, frayed wires, which could present a fire hazard. Limit the amount of time that you keep the tree lit, and remember to unplug the lights when you leave home.
Choose the location carefully
It's important to carefully consider where you're going to put your Christmas tree. Make sure it's at least 3 feet away from heat sources like radiators, space heaters or fireplaces to minimize the risk of the tree catching fire. It should also be placed near an outlet so you don't have to use extension cords to plug in the lights. Be sure that it's secured snugly in the base to rule out the potential of the tree tipping over, and consider using thin wires to hold the tree up if you want additional security. Always be sure that the tree isn't blocking any exits.
Keep real trees well-watered
Dry Christmas trees are more likely to catch fire, even if they're just exposed to the hot bulbs of your Christmas lights. Be sure to choose a tree that has green needles that aren't falling out, then make sure to water it properly to keep it moist. Remember: a dry Christmas tree is highly flammable.
Look for fire-retardant artificial trees
If you're purchasing an artificial tree, make sure that it's labeled fire-retardant. While this isn't a guarantee that the tree won't catch on fire, it's much less likely to, and if it does, it should be easier to put out the flames.
Be careful about tinsel and ornaments
Whether you have pets or children, it's a good idea to keep them in mind when you're decorating your tree. You may want to avoid using tinsel if you have a cat, as this can be an attractive chew toy that can cause problems if ingested. Ornaments should be placed higher up on the tree to prevent children from pulling them down.