Sadly, Christmas Tree lights are the leading cause of house fires during the holidays.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Christmas lights cause 40 per cent of Christmas tree fires. While homeowners insurance can protect one financially in some cases, it doesn’t help with safety.
Dwanyne Ethier is a Training and Fire Prevention Officer with the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority (BRFA) and personally knows the importance of Christmas Tree light safety. Either became a Firefighter because when he was 14-years-old, his house burnt down during Christmas time.
“It’s not a fun feeling for people. And especially in the holidays when it’s stressful, to begin with adding that stress onto it, and there are some small key things that you can do for Christmas Tree light fire safety, it’s fairly easy,” Ethier told Lakeland Connect.
Follow these 10 Christmas light safety tips to ensure you don’t burn the house down.
- Never leave your lights on unattended
- Consider using LED lights instead of incandescent lights
- Be mindful of where you place candles
- Indoor and outdoor lights are not interchangeable
- Only use three light strands per outlet
- Get rid of old lights
- Securely fasten all outdoor light strings
- Avoid using electric lights on metallic trees
- Be smart when using extension cords
- Don’t over decorate and keep your Christmas tree watered (If it’s a real tree) which keeps it from becoming a fire hazard
“Biggest safety tip I can say is is buy the correct stuff,” Ethier said. “Make sure everything is certified.”
Ethier says the key thing about Christmas lights is making sure that you’re not overloading your circuits.
“We’ve had fire start because the lights are designed to plug in together and then you have like 15 light strands plugged into one socket. It’s gonna overload that circuit,” Ethier said.
Another important safety tip is if you use a live tree, make sure you keep watering it all the time.
“The thing about live trees is they do not keep a passport. Once it goes beyond four weeks, whether it’s watered or not, it dries out enough that it now becomes a fire hazard,” Ethier said. “If you’re using candles at Christmas time, make sure you snub them anytime you leave the room.”
The BRFA have seen incidents where candle subs have ignited after not being correctly put out.
Also keep lit candles away from anything that can catch fire, such as drapes, anything flammable, furniture, that sort of stuff, making sure it’s on a sturdy base so it doesn’t get knocked over and if you have kids, really make sure it’s on a sturdy base or something that the kids are not going to fall over,” Ethier said.
Protecting your home and family should be your number one priority this season. Have a happy, secure holiday.