Christmas tree safety tips to prevent home fires - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Christmas tree safety tips to prevent home fires

Posted: Updated:
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Cooking, candles, and holiday decorations increase the risk of house fires during this time of the year, but Christmas trees tend to be the biggest culprit.

It only takes a matter of seconds for your Christmas tree to catch fire and just one minute for your entire home to be engulfed by flames.

It's why disposing your tree is so important in keeping you and your family safe

“All it takes is one spark and that tree can ignite,” said Cpt. Chuck Hartung, with the Chattanooga Fire Department. "When that tree is harvested it's drying out even if you're keeping it watered it's dying. it's decaying, and we saw the forest fires in Gatlinburg. we saw how all that dryness what happened, so that same thing can happen inside your living room."

In past years, Chattanooga firefighters have fought fires with Christmas trees being to blame. Something that seems all too common nationwide. 

A report from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shows more than 200 Christmas tree fires were sparked annually between 2009 and 2013. Four of every five Christmas tree fires occurred in December and January. On average, one of every 34 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires.

Tree dryness is just one of many reasons why your tree can catch fire. The majority of the time electrical problems, including heaters, share the blame.

"If you've got a space heater that's too close to your tree that really could cause you a problem. it's just like being too close to curtains or anything that's combustible. it can cause a major fire in your house," said Hartung.

In fact, one in every four home Christmas tree fire is caused by a heater.

Officials also recommend checking your holiday lights for frayed wires or excessive wear, make sure your tree is not blocking an exit in case of an emergency and always turn off lights on a tree before going to bed or leaving your home.

"Most fires are preventable, and the human factor is what comes to mind. we just don't think. we think it's pretty to look at. we wanna capture that season and keep that season in our house long after the Christmas holiday is over and wanna look at it, but it is unsafe to keep a tree in your house for over 30 days," said Hartung.

READ MORE | Where to recycle your Christmas tree in Hamilton County

The county's five recycling centers will be providing designated spots for you to drop off your Christmas trees at any time starting January 1st through the end of the month. 

Powered by Frankly