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Christmas Tree Fire Safety

Christmas Tree safety tips for residents of Chester County, PA from Chester County Hospital.

Christmas time is here once again in Chester County, PA! As you deck the halls and trim your tree this holiday season, Chester County Hospital urges all residents to be fire smart. A small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can grow very large, very quickly. And that doesn't make for a very merry Christmas

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. Each year, fire departments respond to roughly 260 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Other frightening fire-related facts:

  • One-third of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems.
  • One-in-every five of Christmas Tree fires are caused by a heat source being too close to the tree.
  • Candles start two-out-of-five home decoration structure fires.
  • The top three days for home candle and tree fires are: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
  • On average, one of every 32 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death (compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires).

Here are some great safety tips to keep your holiday home fire-free:


Picking Your Christmas Tree

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing Your Christmas Tree

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1"-2" from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

Lighting Your Christmas Tree:

  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory (such as UL). Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
  • 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.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

When Christmas is Over:

Get rid of the tree shortly after Christmas BEFORE the tree becomes dry. 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 municipality to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

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Chester County Hospital's Health e-Living Blog offers a regular serving of useful health and lifestyle information for the residents of Chester County, PA and the surrounding region.

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