Christmas trees are a staple of the holiday season for many homeowners in south Florida. However, in the context of celebration, priorities tend to shift away from good safety practices in an effort to have the best décor possible for friends and family to enjoy.
It’s important to consider all of the extraneous factors taking place during this time of year. Although the weather in Florida usually doesn’t call for constantly running furnaces or blazing fires, having holiday lights plugged in for long periods of time does cause some hazards. In the midst of the chaos often brought on by this time of year, homeowners should take a moment to consider Christmas tree safety.
To avoid having one of the estimated 300 house fires caused by Christmas trees in the United States annually, consider these tips as you or your tenants go about decorating:
Choice and Setup
When choosing your tree, make sure you try to buy one that was cut down recently. Fresh trees will not drop many needles, and you should also ask the vendor when the tree was cut. Once you choose, inquire if the vendor will cut off 1-2 inches from the bottom of the tree for you, which will help it to absorb water and stay hydrated once you place it in your home.
Note: If you opt for an artificial tree, check the label to make sure that it’s fire retardant.
Make sure that the lights being hung on the tree are in good working condition. They should not have missing or damaged bulbs or have cracks in the wires. Limit the number of cords you plug into outlets, as an overloaded socket may cause sparks and electrical fires. And, if you light candles as part of your holiday festivities, be sure to keep them a safe distance away from your tree.
Perhaps the most important aspect of tree maintenance is watering. Some trees need as much as a gallon of water over the course of a month-long holiday period, but a good rule of thumb is to provide a quart of water for each inch of trunk diameter.
Placement and Disposal
Once the holidays are over, your tree should be disposed of as quickly as possible, especially if it has begun to drop needles. This can be a challenge for some families as they head back to work and try to get caught up after the holiday break. It’s important to note that proper disposal does not mean leaving the tree in the garage or outside. Find a recycling program so that the fire hazard is removed from your property right away.
If, despite your efforts, you do experience a Broward County home fire caused by your Christmas tree, take action as soon as possible. Report the incident and any damage to your insurance company, and seek the guidance of a South Florida Public Adjuster to handle your Fire Insurance Claim if you have any concerns.
The team at Advocate Claims Public Adjusters proudly serves home and business owners throughout West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Delray Beach, Wellington and communities throughout the rest of Florida. Call us today at 1-954-369-0573 or contact us online.