10 top tips to prevent Christmas Tree fires

By Sheena Amos

DUBAI 24 December 2018: UAE residents decorating their home for the holidays have been advised to follow a series of top safety tips to prevent their Christmas tree from becoming a fire hazard.

Global safety science firm, UL, which has offices in Dubai and a state-of-the-art laboratory in Abu Dhabi, is advising people to take a number of safety precautions to prevent real or artificial Christmas trees from accidentally causing a fire.

According to research conducted by UL, some artificial trees – including pre-lit trees – can contribute to the rapid growth of a fire in a similar fashion to that of a dried-out natural tree.

Hamid Syed, Vice-President and General Manager of UL Middle East, said: “Christmas trees are the staple of any festive decoration in the home and ornaments, lights and decorations are all part of excitement of the season.

“By following a few simple good practice guidelines, people can still enjoy all the fun of decorating the Christmas tree but also help reduce the risk of that tree contributing to a fire in their home.

“Our top tips will help ensure this is a festive season to remember, for all the right reasons.”

UL offers a number of top tips for fake or real trees, to help people keep their homes safe this festive season:

  1. Water a real tree regularly. A dried-out tree is much for likely to catch fire than a well-watered one, as demonstrated in a test was conducted by the National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters Laboratories.
  2. Know what you are buying. Artificial trees are typically marketed as “flame retardant,” which simply indicates a product that burns slowly – not that it doesn’t burn at all or is “flame resistant.”
  3. Decorate in moderation. Overuse of combustible decorations will make a tree more flammable and never use lit candles or sparklers to decorate the tree.
  4. Be careful around candles. Make sure they are completely out and the wick embers are no longer glowing before leaving the room or going to sleep. Use sturdy, non-combustible candleholders that collect dripping wax and won’t tip over – and never leave a burning candle unattended. Don’t place candles near curtains, bedding, paper, walls or any combustible materials, such as decorations and window treatments … or your Christmas tree!
  5. Keep out of reach of children and pets. Make sure your candles and holiday lighting/electronic decorations are out of the reach of children and pets – and do not leave them alone in a room with lit candles.
  6. Look for the safety mark on light strings. Use safety certified light strings on artificial trees that are not pre-lit by looking for a safety certified label on the product.
  7. Replace damaged light strings. When removing lights from storage, inspect the strings for broken or cracked lamp holders, frayed or bare wires and loose connections. Replace any damaged light strings with new certified light strings.
  8. Connect light strings carefully. When connecting multiple light strings follow the instructions in the user manual or on the tag on the string near the plug. LED light strings and traditional light strings that might include larger screw-in (C9 and C7) bulbs that have different electrical ratings, so read those instructions and follow them.
  9. Use the right type of lamp replacement. When replacing burned out or missing lamps, replace with the type and rating of the lamp indicated on the caution tag. Even though a lamp fits or lights, if the rating, both voltage and wattage, is not correct, it can cause a potential hazard. For push-in lamp type strings, the string will be provided with spare lamps.
  10. Dispose of your real tree properly. Don’t keep trees in the house after they have begun to dry – watering won’t preserve the tree forever – and dispose of them properly, so you don’t create an outdoor fire risk.
Dubai Gazette