If you favor a real Christmas tree over a fake one, chances are that you already know that your beloved evergreen can pose a fire hazard. But what you might not know is how quickly a fire can start if your Christmas tree goes dry.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), our country's fire departments responded to an estimated average of 200 home fires each year that started from Christmas trees from 2011 to 2015. Though they aren't the most common fires, they can be some of the most serious. Tree fires caused an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in direct property damage per year. And when you see warning videos recently released by the NFPA, it's not hard to see why they can be so dangerous.
As you can see, it takes less than 30 seconds for the Christmas tree to become engulfed in flames and less than a minute for the poor evergreen to be burnt to smithereens (along with much of the staged living room). That's why the NFPA continues to share these powerful reminders about watering your Christmas tree — in the form of a terrifying video.
This next video, comparing the fire of a dry Christmas tree to one that's been watered regularly, pretty much speaks for itself.
This Christmas, be sure you take note of the NFPA's tips below to keep your Christmas tree — and you and your loved ones — as safe as possible.
How to Prevent a Christmas Tree Fire
Be sure your tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents, or lights.
Ensure the tree is not blocking an exit.
Add water to the tree stand every day.
Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, so read the package carefully.
Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.