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​Fire Prevention Tips for Real Christmas Trees​

The holidays are almost here, and nothing beats the seasonal fragrance and feel of a real Christmas tree. However, there are a few safety considerations to keep in mind with a real tree that you don't have to worry about when you choose an artificial one. If you're considering putting up a real Christmas tree this year, here are a few fire prevention tips to help you keep your home safe.

Choose carefully

When selecting your tree, choose one that's as fresh as possible to minimize the risk of fire. Look for a tree with green needles that don't fall off when you brush your hand against them. Trees that are dried out will have brown needles that fall out easily. An older, dried-out tree contains less moisture, making it more likely to catch fire than a fresh one. Once you bring your tree home, water it every day to prevent it from drying out.

Use flame-retardant decorations

Go for Christmas tree decorations and lights that are clearly labeled as flame-retardant. They should also be rated safe by a certified organization, such as the Underwriters Laboratory (for lights) or the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Be careful when adding homemade decorations made of flammable materials, especially if they're hanging near a strand of Christmas lights that may heat up. In addition, check for any frayed wires or damage to the strand that may be a fire hazard. Throw out any lights that appear damaged or aren't certified by the Underwriters Laboratory.

Keep your tree away from heat

Place your Christmas tree away from any heat source, such as a wood stove, a fireplace, candles, lights or heating vents. A spark from a fire could land on your tree and ignite, and placing your tree near a heat source will make it dry out more quickly. To be safe, place your tree at least three feet away from any heat source, and check the batteries in your smoke or fire detector so you'll be alerted in case of a fire. If you'll be away, it's helpful to receive alerts on your smartphone notifying you if your smoke alarm is activated.

Turn off your decorations

As tempting as it is to leave your lights and other decorations on all night, it's safest to turn them off. Leaving them on can cause them to overheat and create a fire risk, especially if you're using a real tree. If you'll be traveling and not at home to turn the tree lights off before bed, you can put them on a timer and control them from an app on your smartphone. This is also a handy way to turn off the lights on an outdoor Christmas tree. By connecting these types of alerts and notifications to your home security system, you'll have peace of mind when you need to be away.

Keep these fire prevention tips in mind, and you'll be able to enjoy a worry-free holiday.

Contact Vivint to learn more about how smart home technology can help you have a safer holiday season.