Many of us are shopping for or have already decorated the perfect Christmas tree, a symbol that is cemented into some of our most cherished holiday memories. For many of us, a Christmas tree—decorated with lights, and bursting with presents—is a beautiful reminder of our families’ traditions.

But as a Memphis personal injury lawyer, I know that without certain important safety precautions, even the most beautiful Christmas tree can quickly become a fire hazard.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments across the United States respond to an average of 200 Christmas tree fires per year. A recent study found that Christmas tree fires caused 160 home fires in a recent four-year period under review.

Some fires are more dangerous than others, and Christmas tree fires are among the most deadly. Data from the NFPA found that one in 52 home fires caused by Christmas trees resulted in a fatality. In comparison, there was one death per 135 reported fires with other causes.

You can easily see why: a recent demonstration by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission showed how a tree can become completely engulfed in flames within seconds, rapidly setting fire to everything in its path.

What Causes a Christmas Tree Fire?

According to the National Fire Protection Association’s recent four-year study, 44% of the 160 home fires were fueled by electrical problems. Additionally, another leading cause was the proximity between a heat source, such as a candle or heating equipment, and the tree. 25% of home Christmas tree fires were caused from problems related to overly close heat sources.

Top Home Christmas Tree Fire Prevention Tips

As a Memphis personal injury lawyer, your safety is one of my biggest priorities. I hope that the tips below will help you and your family celebrate a wonderful Christmas this holiday season.

What Tree to Pick

Keeping your home safe from fire this holiday season starts by picking the right tree. If you haven’t yet found the perfect tree to bring home, pay attention to these tips.

  • Select a tree with fresh, green needles that don’t fall when touched, a good test of a tree’s age. If needles fall off, it may indicate that the tree has been cut too long or has dried out.
  • The trunk should also be sticky to touch.

Remember, while nothing tops the smell of fresh pine, an artificial tree is a great pick from the standpoint of fire safety, so long as it’s been labeled by the manufacturer as fire retardant.

Where to Put It

Location matters when it comes to Christmas tree safety. Keep your tree at least three feet from any heat source, including fireplaces, radiators, and candles.

When to Dispose of It

Once your tree starts dropping needles, it’s time to get rid of it. Remember that dried-out trees are a hazard and should not be left in the house or garage, or propped up against the walls of your house.

Other Christmas Tree Safety Tips:

  • Do not leave live trees up longer than two weeks
  • Make sure trees aren’t blocking exits
  • Water your Christmas tree delay
  • Do not use string lights with worn or broken cords
  • Always turn off lights before leaving the house or going to bed

Happy Holidays!

Have you been searching for an auto accident lawyer Memphis, TN area residents trust? Call an experienced lawyer at Darrell Castle & Associates today.