Holidays

Dramatic video shows why watering your Christmas tree is so important

Watch how fast a dry Christmas tree will ignite and destroy your house

As Americans decorate their homes for the holiday season, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is reminding consumers of decorating dangers. The agency demonstrated some of the hazards at its laboratory in Rockville, Md.
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As Americans decorate their homes for the holiday season, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is reminding consumers of decorating dangers. The agency demonstrated some of the hazards at its laboratory in Rockville, Md.

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

Christmas Trees*

Candles**

Fires

100

1200

Deaths

10

10

ER-treated injuries

20

130

Property loss

$15.7 million

$42.2 million

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.

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