According to the National Fire Protection Association, 50 percent of house fires occur in December. The usual culprit? Tannenbaums. So before decorating this year’s tree, consider the following:
- From 2006 to 2010, Christmas trees started an average 240 house fires a year, resulting in four deaths and 21 injuries, not to mention $17.3 million in property damage annually.
- Forty-two percent of Christmas tree fires happen during the “12 Days of Christmas” – December 23 to January 3.
- Disposal is crucial. One homeowner wrapped the tree in clear plastic and put it on the patio. The shiny plastic caught the sunlight, and the tree went up in flames.
- Fake trees are responsible for only a third of all Christmas tree fires.
If a fire happens, contact your insurer immediately. Don’t delay or decide to cover damages yourself. Usually structural damage is worse than you think. Smoke damage alone in a room the size of a bathroom can cause thousands of dollars in damage.
Wiring damage can spread. If it does, your claim could be denied for failing to report previous damage. Condo and townhouse owners and renters would be liable for damage caused to neighbors’ homes.
- Ensure lights, extension cords, and power strips are in good condition
- Unplug lights before leaving home or going to bed
- Keep trees away from fireplaces and heat sources.
- Water trees daily.