Make Sure Safety Is Under Your Christmas Tree!

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Preparedness Makes For a Happy Holiday Season! 

This year, over 33 million American homes will have a natural Christmas tree inside their home, waiting for Santa Claus to drop a bagful of presents under it.  What has always been a wonderful holiday tradition, however, can turn to disaster if you don’t take the proper precautions!

I’m Mr. Prepared and I’m wondering if you know just how long it take a dry Christmas tree to ignite into a full-blown fire.   Answer?  Three seconds.  It takes only two more seconds for the fire to spread to other parts of the room.  And in only forty seconds, “flashover” will occur – when the entire room is engulfed in an out of control blaze and toxic smoke fumes fill the air.

Now that’s one Christmas present all of us can do without!  

Each year, lives are lost and over 6 million dollars in property damage is inflicted by holiday tree fires.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!  There are several simple ways you can keep “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” without “Burning Down the House!”   So read the following tips so you can survive the holidays in style!

1)     BUY LIVE!

When you pick out your Christmas tree, make sure that sucker is alive and well.  Obviously, your best option is to cut it down yourself at a Christmas tree farm that allows that sort of thing (Mr. Prepared does not advocate sneaking around in the woods and cutting down other people’s trees willy-nilly!). 

If you are buying from a lot that trucks in pre-cut trees, make sure you pick one that’s still among the living!  Shake those branches – if too many needles fall off, you know that tree’s terminal.   Also, the branches shouldn’t snap off – they should be flexible, the trunk should be sticky, and the tree should feel fresh and alive.   Dry and dead is the wrong combo for festive fun!


When you bring your tree home, get out the hacksaw and cut off a couple more inches off the bottom of the trunk.  Otherwise, the tree may not be able to take in the water you’ve put in the tree stand – and won’t stay as fresh and moist as possible.  By slicing off the extra chunk, you make it easier for the tree to drink up – and live longer!


The ongoing survival of your Xmas tree depends on making sure the tree stand is filled with water – well above the bottom of the trunk.   You don’t do so well when you’re dehydrated – and your tree won’t either!  So top off that stand every day or so!


Thinking about parking your tree right next to a heater vent?  Or your fireplace for the perfect holiday portrait?  I’d think again!  Putting a flammable tree next to a heat source is like throwing dirt at an angry dog – somebody’s going to get hurt!  Keep the tree in a cooler part of the room away from heat and fire – that’s highly logical, as Mr. Spock used to say!


Okay, the holidays are over – your Christmas tree is ready to be history – and there’s a big ol’ fireplace just calling for some fresh wood.  Don’t try to burn your tree in order to get rid of it – they burn quickly and can also go out of control faster than you can put it out.  You can also cause a chimney fire by burning Christmas tree clippings.


Don’t keep that tree up until spring and confuse the heck out of the Easter Bunny!  Instead, dispose of it promptly shortly after New Year’s.  Otherwise, it just keeps getting drier and deader and more of a fire hazard.  It’s already depressing enough after the holidays without your house burning down! 

Now, if you think good old Mr. Prepared is just trying to scare you, I’d suggest you take a look at the videos at  .  They’ll show you just how fast and furious a Christmas tree can burn!   If you take the right precautions, however, your tree will survive to 2009 -and so will you!

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season – and please stop by my website at for more free emergency survival tips and tricks.  Until next time, be Smart!  Be Safe!  Be Prepared! This is Mr. Prepared, bringing Awareness to Preparedness!