How to Deck – Not Wreck! – the Halls this Holiday

Posted: December 5, 2017
Category: Fire Safety , Safety

It’s the most wonderful time of year – creamy hot chocolate, sleigh bells ringing, crisp winter breeze, twinkling lights, and my personal favorite, that fresh smell of evergreen and Christmas trees!

‘Tis the season to Deck the Halls; here are a couple tips to help you deck the halls safely this holiday season!

Is it just me, or is picking out and decorating your Christmas tree the best way to get into the holiday spirit? Grab some hot cocoa, slip on your fuzziest snow boots, slide on your coziest winter scarf, and join me in my favorite Christmas activity – finding the perfect tree!

When picking out your tree…

If you’re a true Christmas fan, you know there’s no tree like a real, freshly cut, evergreen tree to brighten your room. When picking out the perfect Christmas tree from the lot, there are a few special things you should take into consideration.

  • Make sure the tree is in good condition
  • Look out for broken branches!
  • Full-bodied branches rather than sparse limbs
  • Green, green, greener!

Why do you need to take a closer look? The better shape your tree is when you take it home, the longer it will last. The greener your tree is, the less likely it is to become a fire hazard. Leave the small, bare trees to Charlie Brown this year!

When placing your tree…

Finding the perfect place to exhibit your Christmas tree is not just a decision, it’s an art. Finding the perfect area of your home to showcase the tree’s twinkling lights and tinsel in any room takes strategy; especially when making sure it’s visible from the windows and is also far enough away from heat sources to prevent it from becoming a safety hazard!

Be extra conscious to keep your tree three feet away from any heat source, like a fireplace, heater vent, or even electronics like your TV. It’s also never a bad idea to keep a fire extinguisher near and handy. Oh – and make sure to check that your fire alarm is active and in good working condition!

In addition to avoiding heat, keep your tree away from heavy feet traffic, an entrance, or blocking an exit. You don’t want your eggnog filled holiday guests accidentally bumping into your perfectly decorated tree and knocking it over! You also might want to make sure your tree is in your cat’s least favorite room…

When decorating your tree…

Now we’re getting to the good part – Christmas lights! One of the best parts about Christmas decorating is that you can recycle them year after year, but it’s important to make sure that your lights are in premium condition before placing them on your tree.

According to the NFPA, 25% of Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems. Make sure you apply the manufactures instructions on how many light strands you can plug together – it’s usually a max of three.

Santa’s watching you (and your tree) – so don’t forget to say goodnight to those bright lights and unplug your Christmas lights before you head off to bed! Leaving them on for Santa is a nice idea, but you may get a visit from another group of men in red (aka firefighters) if you do!

Lastly, this may sound like a silly tip – but just in case you’re a live Christmas tree newbie…never use lit candles to decorate your Christmas tree. Let’s save that bonfire for next year’s summer night gatherings.

When enjoying your tree…

Now that your tree is decorated with your family heirlooms, sparkling Christmas lights, and topped with that glorious shining star, it’s time to enjoy the holidays! Sit back, sip your hot cocoa, eat one too many of those delicious sugary holiday treats and make memories with your family and friends.

As you experience the magical aura that surrounds your Christmas tree this year, remember to continually give your tree some love and feed it water. Your tree stand should always have water in it, so your tree is never left thirsty. Dry and brittle trees are dangerous and a huge safety hazard -so the more water you supply, the safer you’ll be!

When discarding your tree…

Say it isn’t so! I know it’s sad to think about – and you may not want to face the Christmas music – but there’s only so long you can celebrate Christmas (or save your tree!).

As soon as your tree’s needles start drying up and shedding, that’s your cue to get it out of the building and off your property! Check with your local community to find a recycling program to dispose of your tree.

It may seem safe to keep your old tree in your garage or even store it outside leaning against the wall – but both options are serious safety hazards. Make sure to get rid of it all at once…there’s no need to prolong the sad Christmas farewell when you can shift to the next celebration: New Years!

Happy Holidays from everyone here at Unified! We hope you have a cozy winter season next to your brightly lit Christmas tree.

If you have any mitigation, restoration, or safety questions (or just want to send us season’s greetings), feel free to reach out. We’re ready and waiting to share some Christmas cheer with you!

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Unified Disaster Resources is an expert at complete damage recovery, and we want to share our knowledge with you! Doing Away with Damage is a place you can rely on for mitigation, restoration, and OSHA Safety resources. We want you to be protected, prepared, and taken care of, and this blog is going to make sure you know what that looks like!