The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent safety testing organization, are partnering this season to remind consumers about the importance of safe holiday decorating habits.
Keeping fresh Christmas trees well-watered is not only vital to the tree's decorative longevity, but also to keeping consumers safe this holiday season. If ignited, a dry tree can become engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds, as opposed to a well-watered tree, according to NCTA. With so many people decorating trees for the holidays, this safety detail is more important than ever.
“Because many trees have been dormant for a couple months, it’s typical for them to absorb most of their water within six to eight hours after being brought into a warm home. Families should make a fresh cut to the trunk and place the tree in water as soon as possible once getting it home,” said Beth Walterscheidt, a tree farmer from
See a demonstration showing how flammable a dry Christmas tree can be as opposed to a tree watered regularly. This test was conducted by the National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters Laboratories.
In addition to keeping trees watered daily, John Drengenberg, consumer affairs manager for UL, reminds consumers to dispose of them after four weeks.“If you put up your Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving, it needs to be taken down the week after Christmas,” Drengenberg said. “After New Year’s, even well-watered trees can become a fire hazard.”
On average, real and artificial Christmas trees are the first items ignited in an estimated 210 home fires annually, according to the most recent NFPA statistics. While this represents a small portion of the estimated 85 million households that display a tree, consumers need to commit to taking care of a fresh tree, and keep flame sources away from plastic trees, to reduce the risk of their tree being involved in a home fire.
“Christmas Day holds the record for the highest number of reported home candle fires,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications at the NFPA. “Consumers should keep in mind that if they’re going to use candles, they need to place them away from things that can burn. It is also important to keep candles away from children and pets to avoid the risk of having them accidentally tipped over.”
NFPA also reports that candles caused an estimated 15,600 home structure fires reported to local fire departments in just one year. These fires caused an estimated 150 deaths, 1,270 injuries and $539 million in direct property damage.
Because of this high risk, UL and the NFPA urge people to practice a few safety precautions before, during and after their celebrations.
UL tests more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems annually with more than 21 billion UL Marks appearing on 71,000 manufacturers’ products each year. UL’s worldwide family of companies and network of service providers includes 66 laboratories and testing and certification facilities serving customers in 104 countries. For more information, visit www.ul.com/newsroom.
NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education.