December 24, 2014

holiday+decor+safetyA family living in Manassas, Virginia have lost their home after a fire that began at the family’s Christmas tree. By the time firefighters arrived at the 9600 block of Fairview Avenue on Dec. 21, the fire was already burning heavily. Fire officials believe the blaze started at an outlet where the Christmas tree was plugged in. The family was at church when the fire occurred. Damage from the fire is estimated to total $70,000.

This unfortunate incident highlights the importance of safety during the holiday season. Manassas, Virginia officials urge residents to unplug Christmas lights on trees or homes before leaving their home or prior to going to sleep.

The U.S. Fire Administration, which is a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has provided a list of safety tips for Christmas trees:

  • If you buy an artificial tree, ensure it’s labeled as fire retardant.
  • If buying a traditional tree, choose one whose needles do not fall off when brushed.
  • Place the tree a minimum of three feet away from any heat source, including fireplaces, candles, radiators, vents, or lights.
  • Do not block an exit or doorway with the tree.
  • Water the tree daily.
  • Use Christmas lights indoors that have been labeled for that use and for outdoor light, use lights labeled for outdoor use.
  • Replace broken, worn, or loose lights.
  • Chain a maximum of three strands of mini lights together and a maximum of 50 screw-in bulbs.
  • Turn off lights before leaving the house or going to sleep.
  • Discard of the Christmas tree when it begins to drop needles. Dried trees are a fire hazard.
  • Bring outdoor Christmas lights inside after the holidays.

One of three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical failure. One in every five of these fires is caused by a tree being placed too close to a heat source.

Remember to stay safe during the holiday season. The Cochran Firm, D.C. wishes you and yours a merry Christmas!