During the holiday season, we dress our homes in their finest, using sparkling lights, scented candles, decorated wreaths, and Christmas trees adorned with treasures. Unfortunately, according to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas trees—both real and artificial—were instrumental in an estimated 300 reported home structure fires per year since 2000.
The U.S. Fire Administration offers the following fire safety tips for homeowners:
- When decorating, only use lights rated “for indoor use.”
- Do not use any string of lights with worn, frayed, or broken cords.
- Always unplug Christmas tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree, and make sure all lit candles are placed well away from tree branches.
- Water live trees daily to keep them as moist as possible. Do not purchase a tree that is dry and dropping needles. If purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled flame retardant.
- Place the tree at least three feet away from any heat source, such as fireplaces or radiators. Position the tree near an electrical outlet to avoid running long cords, and do not block exits.
- Safely dispose of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried out trees are highly flammable. Do NOT burn Christmas tree branches in a fireplace. (Dry pine burns so rapidly it resembles an explosion. Sparks and burning embers can easily shower a wide area around the fireplace.)
While the image above isn’t all that uncommon, note all the potential fire issues.
Damage After The Fire
Fire, smoke, and soot can rapidly harm household items, even after the fire has been extinguished.
- Within minutes, plastic and marble surfaces begin to permanently stain.
- Within hours, metals tarnish, grout stains, fiberglass and furniture yellows.
- Within days, flooring stains, fabrics are irreversibly damaged, and wood furniture finish is compromised.
What To Do
During the holiday season, property damage specialists experience a significant increase in fire mitigation calls, primarily attributed to Christmas trees and other holiday decorations. It is imperative to seek help immediately from a professional restoration company, such as EMERG+NC Property Rescuers to prevent further damage from fire and the resulting smoke and soot. EMERG+NC Property Rescuers specializes in property remediation after a home or commercial structure has been damaged by fire and smoke. Qualified EMERG+NC professionals use state-of-the art services to restore your property as quickly as possible.