December is a busy time full of family, festivity and celebration but with all the decoration that comes as part and parcel of Christmas, there’s every reason to be even more vigilant where fire safety is concerned.
If you’re considering getting a real Christmas tree this year, you may be more at risk of a rapidly burning fire if you don’t take the right precautions. From choosing the right tree to knowing how to safely get rid of it, we’ve compiled our top tips to ensure Christmas is a memorable one for all the right reasons.
Choosing a tree
If you’re on the hunt for a real Christmas tree, take care to find one that’s appropriate for the space you’re planning it for. Consider its surroundings within the chosen room and take measurements for width and height. Pick a tree that has fresh green needles that don’t fall off when brushed against and ensure its trunk is sticky to the touch. Trees that shed their needles easily have likely been cut too long, are drying out and pose a fire hazard.
Finding the best place for your tree
Of course you’ll want your beautifully decorated Christmas tree to take pride and place in your home and be easily visible to any passers-by outside. But think carefully about the safest place for it. Christmas trees should never be stood near an open source of flame or heat, as this will dry out the tree and give it a better chance of igniting. You should also ensure the tree isn’t blocking an exit.
Taking care of your tree
Always bear in mind the three ingredients of the ‘fire triangle’ – fuel, oxygen and heat are needed to produce a fire. A dry Christmas tree is a material that can easily serve as fuel for a fire so taking steps to keep your tree in as good a condition as possible is vital. Stand your tree in a bucket of water and top the water up daily. A dry tree could result in your home becoming engulfed in flames within seconds of it catching fire.
Decorations made of tissue paper or cardboard hanging from the tree’s branches pose a fire hazard too and candles should be kept well out of the way. Be cautious when choosing fairy lights and don’t overload sockets. Also, double check the Christmas tree lights are turned off every night and whenever you leave the house.
Safely disposing of your tree
Dried out trees are a fire hazard so take down your tree soon after the festivities have finished. Don’t risk leaving it lying around the house or in the garage – take it to a recycling centre or look into local pick-up services in your area.
This year, as you and the family gather excitedly to decorate your real Christmas tree, take into consideration these basic fire safety tips and it could save lives. Last year, the London Fire Brigade raised awareness by sharing a shocking video that showed just how quickly a Christmas tree fire can take hold. Take every step to ensure this isn’t your home.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas.