With twinkly lights, glistening tinsel and dozens of homemade ornaments, our Christmas trees tell the stories of our family traditions. But if your holiday memories spark into a Christmas tree fire, it can be a frightening sight.
While Christmas tree fires aren’t common, they can cause serious and sometimes deadly damage. The National Fire Protection Association reports that an average of 160 home fires are caused by Christmas trees per year. The fires burn quickly and can destroy more than just the tree, resulting in $10 million in direct property damage annually, according to the NFPA.
To see how much damage a Christmas tree fire can cause, Erie staged a fire in a vacant home, supervised by the local fire department. From its first flame, it only took 30 seconds to fill the room with toxic smoke. And in one minute, it burned down the entire living room.
Watch the footage of a real Christmas tree fire here:
What Causes a Christmas Tree Fire?
Many people love their Christmas decorations and choose to leave them up for a few weeks after the holiday. But when it comes to a dried-out live Christmas tree, that's a dangerous risk to take. The moisture content of your tree can determine how quickly a fire will spread. A well-maintained tree won’t catch as easily as one with dry branches and needles.
How to Prevent Your Christmas Tree from Catching Fire
Keep your tree shining bright and fire free with these helpful tips:
- Water your tree.We’ve talked with the experts on picking the right Christmas tree, but once it’s home water it regularly. Pro tip: filling your tree stand with warm water when you first get home will help it absorb more quickly after a long drive.
- Choose the perfect spot. To prevent fires, pick a location free from heating vents, fireplaces or candles. (But if you do decide to light a candle that pairs perfectly with the scent of your fresh pine tree, be sure to follow these candle safety tips.)
- Inspect your lights. According to the NFPA, nearly one in five Christmas tree fires start due to decorative lights. Before you start decorating, check your string lights for any frayed wires or other damage that could spark a fire. (Check out these additional tips on hanging holiday lights.)
- Turn lights off when you aren’t home. And if you plan to take an extended trip, take a look at these reminders before leaving home for the holidays.
Looking After You
This holiday season, make sure you and your family have the right home insurance so you can tackle whatever life throws your way. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind with Guaranteed Replacement Cost1 to protect your home this holiday season and beyond. Talk to your local Erie agent to upgrade your coverage.
1Guaranteed Replacement Cost applies to dwelling and requires home improvements over $5,000 to be reported within 90 days - not available with all policies and in all states. Coverage of costs to comply with laws or ordinances is subject to limits. Depreciation will be deducted until repair or replacement is made. Talk to an ERIE agent for more information.
ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York). The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.
The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of July 2022 and may be changed at any time.
Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions.
The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states. ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York. ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia or New York. ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York.
Eligibility will be determined at the time of application based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time.
Your ERIE agent can offer you practical guidance and answer questions you may have before you buy.