Christmas Tree Safety

Who can forget when Clark Griswold’s tree went up in flames, due to Uncle Lewis’s cigar in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? It may have been one of the funniest holiday movie moments of all time, but it also highlights a serious concern for homeowners – Christmas tree fires.


Clark’s tree was “ugly”, except its actual problem was the fact it was dry. (Partly because Uncle Eddie’s dog drank the water.) When a Christmas tree does go dry, it is more susceptible to fire. Every year there are 250 reported Christmas tree fires, causing millions of dollars in damage.


As a homeowner, the most important maintenance for your Christmas tree is to keep it watered. A tree can take in a significant amount of water every day, so keep an eye on the water level in the stand. Also when you buy your tree, always have a fresh cut on the bottom, this will allow the tree to last longer. And keep a close eye on the health of your tree. Live Christmas trees will always drop needles, but that process will speed up as the tree dies.


Similar to Clark’s tree, fires only need a small spark to start. And the best prevention is to remove all possible areas of concern. Always place the tree away from fireplaces, candles and electrical outlets. It is also best to place your tree in an area where a small child or pet will be unable to knock over the tree. Also, because lights are a must have on a tree, check them for frayed wiring and never overload an electrical outlet with plugs. A tree without lights isn’t a Christmas tree, but the precautions are needed.


And finally, once you suspect your tree is reaching the end of its lifecycle, take it down. Most homeowners keep trees up throughout December and into the first week of January. That is a long time considering the Germans who invented the concept of the Christmas tree, only put it up on Christmas Eve and would take it down on January 7. So of you know your tree can’t wait for your city’s tree pick up date, just leave it in the backyard, it could save someone’s life.


Have a safe and happy holidays from all of us at Riggs!

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