FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Christmas trees pose fire hazard if not cared for properly

The Springfield Fire Department is reminding residents that Christmas trees must be properly cared for to avoid fires this holiday season. According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 200 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in direct property damage annually.  Other facts:

  • On average, one of every 32 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires
  • Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in two of every five (40%) of home Christmas tree fires
  • In one-quarter (26%) of the Christmas tree fires and in 80% of the deaths, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree
  • One quarter (24%) of Christmas tree fires were intentional
  • Forty-two percent of reported home Christmas tree fires occurred in December and 37% were reported in January
  • More than one-third (37%) home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den.

To avoid a Christmas tree fire, follow these safety tips:

  • Choose a tree with fresh green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk
  • Make sure the tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Add water to the tree stand daily.
  • Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed. And remember, get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry.

The above video demonstrates the flammability of a dry Christmas tree vs. a tree that has been watered regularly.