Most people look forward to the tradition of choosing and decorating a Christmas tree each year. Trimming the tree with beautiful ornaments, garlands, and festive holiday lights is a joy. Although a Christmas tree may be a wonderful addition to your home for the holidays, it can also be a fire hazard.

In fact, Christmas trees are the cause of hundreds of fires each year. Often, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles start tree fires, and a tree that catches fire can rapidly grow large. Although a dry and neglected tree can cause serious risks, a well-watered tree will prevent problems.

A few simple precautions can help you enjoy the beauty of your tree without the worry of fire risks to you, your family and your home.

  • Choose a tree that is fresh by checking for needles that are green and don't shed when touched.
  • Carefully choose a spot to place the tree, away from all heat sources such as a fireplace, radiator, or candles.
  • Before placing it in the stand, cut 1-2 inches from the base of the trunk, as the longer the time between when the tree is given a fresh cut and when it is put into water, the less ability the tree has to absorb water.
  • After placing the tree in the stand, fill it with water, and make certain it remains full each day.
  • Before adding lights, inspect the strands for worn or broken cords and loose bulb connections, and always follow the manufacturer's recommendation for the number of strands that can safely be connected.
  • Don't leave your lit tree unattended. Remember to turn off the lights before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it.

When the holidays are over and it's time to take the tree down, never pull on light strands to remove them. Pulling on the cord can damage the wire, causing risks for electrical injury or fire. As the lights are removed, inspect the wiring and discard any that appear to have damage.

Don't store the tree in or around your home after the holidays. A Christmas tree continues to dry out as the days go by, making it increasingly flammable, so dispose of it promptly through a recycling program.

At Dunham Insurance, we want to wish you and your loved ones a safe and joyful holiday season. If you would like to learn more about protecting your home with a homeowners insurance policy, Dunham Insurance can offer you trusted, expert advice. We will be pleased to assist you with information about why you need it, and help you with choosing the right type of policy with a quality provider. At Dunham Insurance, we offer a wide-range of tailor-made policies. Please call 954-564-7772 or visit www.dunhamins.com to discover how we can help, and to receive your free quote.