Have you seen THAT Christmas tree video?

Fire safety tips for a safe Christmas


real or artificial?

Are you putting up your Christmas tree this weekend? Will you be getting a ‘real’ tree or do you have an artificial or a plastic one? You may have seen the video showing how quickly a Christmas tree fire can engulf a room. This has recently ‘gone viral’ on social media which has raised awareness amongst the public of the risks of a real tree. If you’ve got your heart set on a real tree this Christmas then read our tips to help reduce the risk of a Christmas tree fire in your home.  

A fresh green tree

If you’ve got your heart set on a real tree then choose the freshest one that you can. A fresh tree will not only last longer, it will be much more fire retardant. A tree that is fragrant, has a strong green colour and won’t drop many needles is likely to have a high moisture content making it more fire retardant.    

Watch these videos to compare how quickly a dry Christmas tree burns compared with a tree with a high moisture content:

Three things to look for too help you identify a fresh Christmas tree:

  1. Does it have a strong green colour?
  2. Is it noticeably fragrant?
  3. When you tap it on the ground, only a very few needles should drop.

Stand out stands

There are a number of different Christmas tree stands available and choosing the right one can make your tree more fire retardant. A stand which will hold water can help you to keep your tree fresh and full of moisture. Cut a few inches from the trunk of the tree and place it in a water holding stand. A tree stand with a wider spread is sturdier so your tree is less likely to topple. This is particularly important to consider if you have pets or small children.  

Location, location, location

Christmas trees dry out very quickly, especially in today’s centrally heated houses. Choose an area away from a heat source such as the fire or the radiator to reduce the fire risk and keep your tree fresher. Consider switching the radiator off (or down) in the room where you place your tree. You’re your tree away from other sources of ignition such as the TV and of course never use candles on or near your Christmas tree. Consider your escape plan in the event of a fire.. Make sure your tree doesn’t block the door or even the window as these are your possible escape routes.  And don’t forget to leave plenty of room for presents.  

Right from the start

A fresh Christmas tree can make your home smell ‘like Christmas’. It can also be less of a fire risk than a dry tree. Keep the water in the Christmas tree stand topped up. Make it part of your daily routine to check the water level. Linking this to another daily activity such as opening your advent calendar, feeding the cat or turning the alarm on at bedtime can help you to remember. If you forget to keep the water level up then the stand could run dry. A dry stand means the trunk may seal over and need a fresh cut. It’s much easier to keep the water topped than to try to re-cut the trunk after you’ve hung all the decorations on your tree.    

Reduce the fire risk

Even the freshest Christmas tree can dry out in a warm house in only two weeks so consider waiting to put your tree up closer to Christmas. Christmas lights can make your tree look magical. Think carefully about how they will be powered. An overloaded extension lead is a fire risk. Remember not to leave the lights on for prolonged periods on and to switch them off when you go out and when you go to bed. It’s advisable to check your smoke and fire alarms regularly – we remind you on Tuesdays with our #TestItTuesday reminders on our social media pages.