How To Avoid Christmas Tree Fires. Don't Do What The Germans Do!
Holiday Safety. How To Avoid Christmas Tree Fires
Fortunately, Christmas tree fires are not common, but when they do occur, they are very likely serious.
Although there are no official statistics for Canada, in the US, an average of 230 home fires are caused each year due to Christmas trees igniting.
Many of you will be shocked to find out that in Germany, not only will you find a live Christmas tree in most homes, many Germans are still decorating their tree with real candles!
Yes, I do remember the beautifully candle-lit tree in our living room every year. a bucket of water placed near by. At least once did that bucket come in handy to prevent a small
fire from getting out of hand!
A Bit Of German History
History shows that the very first Christmas trees were not illuminated at all. It was a German aristocratic family that started the tradition of implementing real candles to decorate
their tree in the seventeenth century. Dorothea Sibylle, Duchess of Schlesien, is reported to have been the first to light her Christmas tree with real candles in 1611.
Despite the fact that statistics (German KfV) indicate a 55% increase in home fires during the holiday season, many families, especially those with small children, cherish the old
tradition of celebrating Christmas with candlelight.
Every year, families are warned about the danger of burning candles and the temptation they cause for small children. Parents are reminded to never leave a child unattended while
candles are lit. Even a baby carried in a mother's arm can be subject to serious burns if the mother gets too close to the Christmas tree. There is always the chance of the baby
reaching for the burning candle. A pull on a branch could cause the entire tree to topple.
It's difficult for me to imagine that the old tradition of using burning candles on a Christmas tree is still so widely accepted in Germany!
The following tips can help to ensure a safe holiday season without the worry of a Christmas tree fire:
- SELECT the freshest tree possible. Tap the tree butt on the ground, grab a branch near the top and pull your hand along it slowly. Needles should not fall off. If a needle breaks
bending it, you know that the tree is too dry.
- CUT at least 2.5cm off the base of the trunk and place in a non-tip style tree stand that holds at least one gallon of water.
- PREVENT your Christmas tree from catching fire by placing it away from heat sources such as fireplaces, heaters and candles.
- CHECK the water level in the stand several times each day, as trees may use several liters of water in one day. A properly hydrated tree is more resistant against fire.
Never let the water level fall below the base of the tree to prevent the cut from sealing over. Once the cut is sealed, the tree no longer absorbs water and starts to dry out.
- KEEP children and pets away from your tree. Keep wires out of reach and be mindful of low-hanging ornaments. Dogs and cats playing with wires could cause an electrical fire.
Small children might be tempted to touch shiny decorations and lights and should never be left unattended around your Christmas tree.
- DECORATE with LED lights. They don't generate any heat and allow your Christmas tree to stay fresh. Turn off the lights when leaving the house and before going to bed.
In case of a fire, call 911 immediately. It takes mere seconds for a fire to get out of control.
Wishing you a safe Christmas!
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You'll be glad you did! Ulli Robson, Security Specialist, 780-288-2986