Festively decorated evergreen trees take center stage during the winter holiday season. Whether real or artificial, the trees are lit, sprinkled with tinsel, and topped with a gleaming star. Homeowners must consider the pros and cons when choosing between a live or artificial Christmas tree.
Fire safety is a major concern whether the family selects a real or artificial Christmas tree. In a recent period of four years, US fire officials responded to 200 structure fires that were sparked by the holiday tree. Nearly $15 million in fire damage was sustained and 16 injuries occurred.
Christmas tree fires are uncommon. However, when flames erupt, the consequences are often more deadly than other types of fires. The causes of Christmas tree fires range from decorative lighting to electrical failures, nearby heating equipment, candles and people playing with fire.
Take precaution when wrapping colorful garlands of holiday lights around the Christmas tree, as lights are fire hazards. Candles, an important part of Christmas traditions, double the risks for fires during the holiday, especially when the tree and candles are in close proximity.
Many families look forward to pulling last year’s tree from the attic, decorating, and celebrating merrily. After all, the artificial tree closely resembles a real live fir and looks just as attractive. Installation is easy, giving heads of households extra time to rejoice with the family.
The money saved from setting up the artificial tree can be substantial and used toward holiday presents. In the long run, as families reuse the artificial tree, they continue to save on holiday expenses. Plus, dismantling and storing the artificial tree once the season is over is a breeze.
Artificial trees offer some relief when it comes to health and safety. Artificial trees do not trigger allergies, and many fake trees are flame retardant. Without needing to water the artificial tree or vacuum the fallen needles, daily care is easy.
Despite the many advantages of hoisting up an artificial tree, a few cons exist. Electrical malfunctions and unattended candles can start a Christmas tree fire. Artificial trees are composed of PVC and chemicals, which make them harmful to vulnerable people and the environment.
Recalls are possible when opting for pre-lit artificial trees during the holiday season. Additionally, exposed wiring, exceedingly short wiring and partially plugged cords are fire risks. Pre-lit artificial trees, even if they are not recalled, can also be an electrical shock hazard.
The look, smell and feel of real Christmas trees bring back fond memories for many families. Using the real tree next year will not pose as an issue if the tree is not cut. If the tree is cut, a fresh tree will be the safest type of Christmas tree.
2. Stay Fresh After They’re Cut
Certain types of trees stay fresher longer after being cut. Families can enjoy Fraser Fir trees for approximately five weeks; Douglas fir trees last about four; Scotch Pine trees remain fresh for around three weeks; and, Spruce trees last a mere two weeks.
Disposing the real tree after the season ends is simple, since they are biodegradable. Any one of thousands of tree recycling programs across the country will take the old tree. Families with an outdoor fire pit have the option to cut the dry tree limbs and use them for kindling.
Live trees, especially those that are unhealthy or dead, are more prone to fires than artificial ones. Choosing a healthy tree is key to practicing fire safety, so pick a tree with a sticky trunk and flexible limbs. Watering the tree daily is the key to preventing a tree fire.
Besides the need for daily maintenance, a live tree can be a home to bugs, mold, and fungi. The toxic pesticides used on the tree while it is growing may be harmful to people. A live tree is also an added expense since it must be purchased every year.
Without regular watering, a live tree can quickly dry up. As a result, homeowners should practice caution and avoid placing the Christmas tree, garlands, or other foliage within three feet of a fireplace, radiator, heat vents or alternate heat source.
Decorating a live Christmas tree should also be done with care to avoid creating a fire hazard. Use LED lights, as they do not get as hot. Never decorate the tree with lit candles. Before leaving the house or going to bed, always switch off the Christmas tree lighting.
Dispose of the live tree immediately to avoid a fire risk. Do not leave the tree in the garage or beside the home. Never burn the live tree because it burns fast and will be harder to control. Avoid a chimney fire by not burning tree clippings in the fireplace.
Fire officials know that any Christmas tree—whether artificial or real—is a fire hazard. If, after following fire safety tips, your Christmas tree catches fire, consult a reputable fire damage restoration expert, like ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration, to immediately restore your damaged property.
Call ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration after the fire department has extinguished the fire. Highly skilled technicians will arrive promptly to stop the spread of smoke and soot damage. Our comprehensive services include water damage restoration, which is necessary when a fire hose is used.
A Christmas tree fire or any other type of structure fire requires immediate professional attention once the flames are put out. Smoke damage is toxic, so it is critical to eliminate it from the property immediately. Our crews provide reliable and swift smoke and fire damage restoration.
Whether the fire breaks out in your home or business, turn to ServiceMaster Cleaning and Restoration for all your fire and water damage restoration needs. We proudly serve the greater communities of southwestern Illinois and northeastern Missouri, offering emergency services 24 hours a day and all year long.