WATER YOUR TREE AND AVOID A TRAGEDY THIS CHRISTMAS
- 22nd December 2017
- Property Tips
Advice on how to care for your Christmas tree and awareness of the electrical safety issues around fairy lights
For many of us, Christmas isn’t complete without a festive tree in the corner, complete with twinkly lights to create that warming glow. For ease, a lot of us opt for an artificial tree, however there are still a large proportion who will always prefer the real thing so we can enjoy that fresh pine scent.
The main problem with having a real Christmas tree, aside from cleaning up the fallen pine needles, is the risk that comes with real Christmas trees and house fires.
Although faulty fairy lights are the main cause behind fires at Christmas, it is dried out Christmas trees that act as the catalyst as shown by this video recently shared by the London Fire Brigade.
As you can see a burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases within seconds, which is why special fire safety precautions should be taken with a live tree in the house. The difference that can be made by just making sure your Christmas tree is well watered is incredible, as demonstrated by this video from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
To properly care for your real Christmas tree and prevent it from drying out you should keep the tree stand or base filled with water at all times, and not position the tree near to a heat source that will dry it out. Also when buying a Christmas tree make sure you do not purchase one too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Bear in mind that if you are purchasing a cut Christmas tree, it may have already started to dry out, so make sure to test the freshness of the tree by carrying out some simple checks:
Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches
The needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut
The trunk should be sticky to the touch
If many needles fall off when the trunk is bounce off the ground, the tree has been cut too long, and is a potential fire hazard.
And remember, artificial trees can burn too, just not as easily as a dried-out real one.
To help prevent a fire breaking out in the first place make sure that your Christmas lights are not damaged or broken after being packed away for a year in the loft or garage. Do not connect different light sets together, overload sockets or remove/insert builds whilst the chain is connected to the power supply. Most importantly remember to switch your lights off and unplug them before leaving the property or going to bed. If your lights appear to be electrically unsafe then throw them away, do not attempt to repair them.
If a fire does break out, your smoke alarm could just save your life, so it is incredibly important to check that your smoke alarm is operating properly on a regular basis, especially during the winter when the risk of a fire in the home is so high.
For more information download the pdf ‘Electrical Safety for the Festive Season’ from Electrical Safety First.
remember to switch your lights off and unplug them before leaving the property or going to bed
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