Thursday, December 3, 2015

How to Properly Choose and Display Your Christmas Tree

By: Edward L. Blais, JD, CIC

For many households, a Christmas tree is as much a tradition as a family gathering. Knowing how to safely decorate a tree is just as important as choosing one. To keep your home safe this holiday season, Blais Insurance recommends the following precautions:
  • Choose a Fresh Tree
    • Check the tree for any visible brown needles and see if the branches can hold steadily. If they snap easily, the tree is too brittle and unsafe to hang d├ęcor off of.
  • Choose a Sturdy Stand
    • Before placing your tree into a stand, cut 1-2 inches off the bottom of the tree. Make sure your stand can hold a gallon of water prior to placing the tree. Check the stand frequently to make sure it is full.
  •  Be Aware of Fire Safety
    • Even if your tree is artificial, it is still susceptible to fire. Before purchasing an artificial tree, check to make sure it is certified as flame-retardant. Make sure your smoke alarms are in working order and that your tree is at least three feet away from heat sources.
    • Real trees have extreme potential for fire danger. See how quickly your home can become susceptible to damage if your tree catches: 

Once your tree is up and you prepare to decorate, here are some tips to keep in mind while hanging lights and ornaments:
  • Use A Safe Amount of Lights
    • When it comes to Christmas lights, quality should always be more important than quantity. Check to make sure no bulbs or power cords are damaged. Do not use more than three strands of mini-lights or more than 50 bulbs for screw-in light sets.
  • Do Not Overload a Power Circuit
    • Attach a maximum of three strings to an electrical circuit to reduce the risk of a power surge
  • Do Not Leave Loose Wires Unattended
    • Place any hanging wires or strings along the wall to prevent a tripping hazard. Do not place any wires under rugs or carpets.
  • Turn Off Lights When Not in Use

From all of us at Blais Insurance, we wish you and your family a safe and fulfilling holiday season!

For more information on how to prevent Christmas tree and other winter fires, visit www.usfa.fema.gove/winter. 

Information for this article provided by: 10 Christmas Tree Safety Tips (