Christmas trees were involved in approximately 300 fires annually from 2000 to 2004, according to the National Fire Protection Association. An average of 14 deaths were a result of these fires, and $16.8 million in property damage.
Tips for Purchasing a Tree
• When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire-Retardant.” This indicates that the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
• When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness to make sure the tree isn’t dried out and prone to catching on fire:
- A fresh tree is green.
- Needles are hard to pull from branches and when bent between your finders, needles do not break.
- The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin.
- When tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles. A shower of falling needles indicates that the tree is too dry.
- Watch out for trees with a greenish cast to their trunks and branches. This means the grower has sprayed the tree with green paint to make it look more appealing.
Tips for Setting Up the Tree in Your Home
• Place the tree away from fireplaces, radiators, portable heaters, heater vents, or TV sets.
• Cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption.
• Keep the stand filled with water at all times. Heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly. A tree will absorb as much as a gallon of water or more in the first 24 hours and one or more quarts a day thereafter!
• To maximize freshness and minimize fire risk, keep the tree outdoors for a few days in a bucket filled with water before bringing it indoors.
• If the tree becomes wobbly, center it in the stand more securely and reposition the bolts. Ask family members or friends for assistance with leveling and positioning.
• Do not place the tree in the way of traffic or near stairs and don’t block doorways.
• Use fishing line or string to secure the top of the tree to the ceiling or the way for extra security if it were to wobble or be unstable.
Picking out a Christmas tree with your family can be a wonderful tradition, but the slightest mistake can wreak havoc on your day. Make sure you’re being safe and cautious when putting up your tree this year!
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.