Watering your Christmas tree is far more important than simply keeping it lush.
A compelling video by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission shows it can save you and your home if the area around the tree or the tree itself catches fire.
The dry tree is engulfed in flames in mere seconds and the fire quickly spreads, while the watered tree smolders.
The CPSC also offers tips to eliminate other holiday-decorating-related hazards in a news release.
“Safety should be part of all your decorating efforts,” said CPSC acting Chair Ann Marie Buerkle. “Make sure your live Christmas tree has plenty of water, keep lit candles away from flammable items, and use caution when standing on a ladder or a chair to hang decorations.”
Last year, there were about 14,700 emergency room-treated injuries due to holiday decorating – about 240 a day, according to CPSC. It breaks down fire-related outcomes in the following chart:
Fires involving Christmas Trees and Candles
Types of injuries
fire & burns
fire & burns
*Average annual estimates from 2012 to 2014 entire calendar year.
**Average annual estimates from 2012 to 2014 for the months of November through December.
Here are the CPSC’s safety tips:
Trees: Always check for freshness, including green color and strong needles. Make sure the tree is placed away from any heat sources. Keep the tree stand full of water. If you’re going the artificial route, check for the label “Fire Resistant.” Be careful with decorations that could prove harmful or dangerous for kids and pets.
Candles: Always put out the candles when you’re leaving the room. Keep them on a solid, heat-resistant surface away from kids and pets.
Lights: Use lights tested in nationally recognized labs and make sure outdoor ones are approved for outdoor use. Check lights for any breaks and frayed wiring. Check extension cords’ conditions and use rating.
Fireplaces: Be careful with “fire salts” and keep wrapping paper out of the fireplace. Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every floor and in all bedrooms.
Read more tips from CPSC here.