Christmas Light Safety Checklist

Roberta Velez' tree is certainly ready for the holidays. (WTNH/ReportIt/Roberta Velez)

On average, hundreds of fires are reported in the United States each year due to Christmas tree fires. These fires result in almost 15 million dollars in damage yearly, but they are easily preventable. That prevention starts right at the farm.

Moisture is the best thing for your tree, so make sure to have it as fresh as possible.

John Alston, New Haven Fire Chief mentioned, “So you’re bringing a tree into your home, into the confines of your home and it has the potential for lighting up. There is space between the needles, it has everything that it needs to make that environment conducive for the fire to spread rapidly.”

And fire prevention is key. Eliminate the risk of a fire by putting the right sized tree in your home and make sure it’s far away from sources of heat. Also if you’ve been using the same lights for 20 years, it might be time to go.

Ed Crowder, UI Spokesperson noted, “You know, you might want to consider replacing them for a couple of reasons. One the older lights start to wear, obviously they can get cracks but secondly the LED based lights are much more efficient, they burn a lot cooler. So not only are they safer but you’ll likely save money if you replace the old lights too.”

Regardless of the age of your lights, inspect them before plugging them in. Check to make sure there are no burned areas or frayed bits of wire. Also be careful where you plug those into!

“Surge protectors and extension cords that you select, make sure they’re UL or independently approved by a lab because the longer you run those lights, they are going to build up heat.” said Alston.

It’s also important to never plug in extension cords to other extension cords. That can potentially prevent a fire.

 

Finally always shut down the lights to your tree whenever you leave the house or go to bed at night. It’ll save you money too. Oh, and be careful when stringing lights outside to not do it near power lines.

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