Christmas Tree Safety

The Cedar Hill Fire Department wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season and presents the following fire safety tips. Following the Christmas tree safety recommendations below will help prevent tragedies from occurring in your home.

Consider Tree & Furniture Placement

  • If rearranging furniture to make room for the tree, maintain clearance from sources of heat while maintaining safe exit ways and passageways.
  • Position the tree away from fireplaces, heat registers, direct sunlight, and other sources of heat that can cause the tree to dry out prematurely or even ignite it.
Animated picture of a Christmas tree with flashing lights.

Choose Your Tree Carefully

  • A live tree which can be planted after Christmas will be more likely to stay fresh throughout the season than a cut tree. Choose a healthy one and water it moderately while in the house.
  • When choosing a cut tree, look for freshness; the needles should be difficult to pull from the branches and shouldn't break when bent between your fingers.
  • If purchasing an artificial tree, choose one that is labeled fire resistant.

Keep Your Cut Tree Fresh

Once home, spray the tree with water to remove dead needles and dust, then cut 2 inches off the base and immerse the cut end into water immediately.

Watering A Christmas Tree

A live Christmas tree requires lots of watering to stay green and healthy. Here's how to give your tree the perfect amount of hydration.

  • Always use plain tap water in the stand. Additives (aspirin tablets, sugar) and other recipes (bleach with corn starch) are actually more likely to impede water absorption and probably also cause needles to drop faster.
  • Frequently check water levels in the stand and judiciously fill the reservoir so water always covers the exposed end of the trunk - especially within the first day and week of being cut.
  • The average Christmas tree can use as much as 1 gallon (3.79 liters) of water a day, and you should check the water level daily.
  • The general rule of thumb, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, is that 1 quart (0.95 liters) of water is required for each inch (2.54 centimeters) of the trunk's diameter.

Decorate The Tree Safely

  • Decorate a tree with miniature lights rather than the larger ones to prevent heat build up and lessen drying effects.
  • Inspect used lights carefully for frayed wires, broken sockets, or signs of wear.
  • Never use real candles on a tree.
  • Turn off tree and exterior lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Use only UL listed lights and other electrical items and limit to no more than 3 strands or items per outlet.

After Christmas

  • Christmas Tree Recycling
  • Never burn a Christmas tree in the fireplace or woodstove!
  • Remove the tree from the house promptly.

The best way to fight fires is to prevent them from starting in the first place. This video demonstrates the how quickly the fire can develop when a dry tree is exposed to an open flame.