The holiday season is upon us and for those of you that celebrate Christmas by bringing an outdoor tree inside your home, we would like to simply remind you to be mindful of the potential dangers and how to avoid unwanted holiday memories.
In the November 2012 issue of NFPA’s Home Christmas Tree and Holiday Light Fires by John R. Hall, Jr., the author references the following Christmas tree fire related statistics.
- Between 2006 and 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 230 home structure fires that began with Christmas trees.
- Home Christmas tree fires caused an average of 4 civilian deaths, 21 injuries, and $17.3 million in direct property damage per year.
Although these fires are not common—when they do occur, they are usually likely to be serious:
- On average, one of every 66 reported home structure Christmas tree fires resulted in a death compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported structure fires.
- Nearly half of the home Christmas tree fires were in December and one-third were in January.
- Fifty percent of home Christmas tree structure fires occurred on the 15 days between December 22nd through January 5th.
- Electrical failures or malfunctions were also involved in 31% of the home Christmas fires and nearly 18% occurred because some type of heat source was too close to the tree.
- Decorative lights on line voltage were involved in 14% of these incidents and 9% of home Christmas tree fires were started by candles.
The risk of fire is higher with natural trees versus artificial ones. Researchers found that dry natural trees burned easily but trees that were watered and kept moist were unlikely to catch fire unintentionally.
The following link will reveal to you the dangers of Christmas tree on fire and the noticeable difference between a tree that was watered regularly versus a tree that was not moist to the touch:
For additional safety tips related to the picking, placing and lighting of your Christmas tree please see this safety sheet provided by the NFPA.