Christmas Tree Safety Tips

Some Christmas tree fire facts according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

  • Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious.
  • 1 of every 3 Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly 1 in every 4 Christmas tree fires.

 So be safe. Follow these NFPA tips:

1. Pick and prep the tree.

  • Select a tree that has fresh, green needles that don’t fall off when you touch them.
  • Before placing the tree in your tree stand, cut 2” from the trunk base.
  • Add sufficient water to the tree stand.

2. Place the tree safely.

  • Put the tree at least 3’ away from any heat source, e.g., fireplace, radiator, candles, heat vents, or lights.
  • Make sure the tree does not block an exit from the residence.

3. Decorate the tree safely.

  • Select the appropriate lights—some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Use lights with the label from a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions concerning the number of light strands to connect.
  • Do NOT use any strand of lights that has worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • NEVER use lit candles as tree decorations.

4. Maintain the tree safely.

  • Add water to the tree stand every day so the tree doesn’t dry out.
  • Always turn off the tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.

5. After the holidays, discard the tree appropriately.

  • Do not leave a dried-out tree in your home or garage, or leaning up against your house outside.
  • Find a local recycling program or trash collection site to get rid of the tree.
  • For outside trees that have been decorated, bring the outdoor light strands inside to prevent safety hazards and to make them last longer.

Home Safety Assessment Tool for Seniors

hssat-cover-v4smIn the United States, one in every three older adults falls each year. Falls are the leading cause of injury, disability, nursing home placement, and death in adults over the age of 65. The following Home Safety Self Assessment and fall prevention guide will help you identify potential fall hazards and practical solutions.

Click here to use the online Home Safety Self Assessment Tool.

To download the complete self assessment information to your computer [media-downloader media_id=”987″ texts=”click here (” display_filesize=”yes”]).


“Change your clock, change your batteries.”

change-clockGet ready: it’s almost time to “fall back.” Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 1st.

So remember to turn your clocks back an hour before you go to bed Saturday night October 31st–Halloween. This is the official start of shorter days; on November 1st, sunset will be around 4:59 p.m. MT.

This is also the time to do something that’s critical to your household’s safety: change the batteries in your smoke detector(s). (And don’t forget to press the Test button on the detector to make sure it’s working.)

So . . .

  • Change your clock
  • Change your batteries
  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors


Smoke Alarms Save Lives

Smoke alarms save lives . . .

  • Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half.
  • Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast. You need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.

Use this simple smoke alarm checklist to make sure you’re protected:

2 Minimum: 1 per floor.

Recommended: 1 per floor  + 1 per bedroom

2 Located correctly.

Location: on the wall or ceiling (see manufacturer’s recommendations).

2 Fresh batteries.

Change the batteries every year when you turn the clocks back in the fall.

Remember: “Change the clocks, change the batteries.”

2  Battery backup.

If your smoke alarms are hardwired, make sure they have battery backup.

2  Tested.

Perform a function test with someone placed as far as possible from the smoke alarm.

Push the test button until the alarm starts.

Have the remote person verify that the alarm can be heard clearly and loud enough to awaken people from a deep sleep.

Protect Your Home with Fire Extinguishers

fire_extinguisher1 per floor, including 1 by cooking stove

Make sure they’re the right size and type . . .

SIZE: The extinguisher’s size is indicated by a number on its label. The number represents the size of the fire (in square feet) for which the extinguisher will be effective. For example, a size of “2” indicates that the extinguisher is effective for a fire of 2 square feet. (This may not be enough for much more than a small stovetop fire.)

TYPE: The extinguisher’s type is indicated by letters on the label of the extinguisher, for example, “A, B, C.” These letters represent the types of fires/materials against which the extinguisher is effective:

“A”=common materials (wood, paper, etc.)
“B”=flammable liquids (grease, gasoline, etc.)