Avoid a Flaming Christmas: Fire Safety and Your Christmas Tree

24 January 2017
 Categories: Environmental, Blog


Christmas comes but once a year. Do you insist on having a real tree for the occasion? This is a matter of personal preference, and yet for some people, a plastic tree simply doesn't cut it. If you have a real tree each Christmas, or even if you're prone to putting fairy lights on any trees or plants in your home (regardless of the time of year), there are a few things you need to know to avoid fires. However unlikely they might be, it's best to do everything you can to prevent them from happening.

Positioning the Tree

This one really depends on how much space you have to work with. You should assess the height of the tree and position it in a place where it would not hit any electrical devices if it was to topple over. A fallen Christmas tree (perhaps due to an unsecured base) is an inconvenience. A Christmas tree that has fallen onto a live electrical device and caught on fire is a tragedy. You should also position the tree away from curtains and drapes if possible. If the tree was to catch on fire and fall onto your curtains or drapes, this would then allow the fire to spread faster. You need to ensure that the tree does not block any potential exit either.

Checking Your Lights

Christmas lights get tangled up. This is simply what they do in a clichéd way regardless of how meticulously you bundle them up when dismantling the tree. When you untangle them and put them on your tree before Christmas, you need to check the entire length of each light strand. Look for wires that might have broken through the insulated covering of the light strand. Discard these if you find them. The low voltage of Christmas lights makes a fire unlikely, but it's better not to risk it.

Discarding the Tree

A dry tree is a fire hazard, particularly since the Australian Christmas occurs in the height of summer. Do not dump the dried tree in any nearby bushland, and ask your local council if there is a specialised dropping off point for this specific purpose. If you're discarding the tree in your household rubbish, you might wish to break it into smaller pieces and soak them with your garden hose in order to minimise the risk of fire.

And finally, with your Christmas tree and any Christmas candles you might use to decorate your home, the festive season is an ideal time to check that your fire extinguishers are charged and that your smoke alarms have fresh batteries.