Christmas Trees and Lights Brighten the Holiday Season but Beware the Danger of Fire

December 23, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York Press Office: (212) 346-5500; media@iii.org
 
NEW YORK, December 23, 2013 — Nearly half of all Christmas tree fires between 2007 and 2011 were caused by either an electrical malfunction (32 percent) or because a branch was too close to a heat source (17 percent), according to research compiled by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
 
Decorative lights (12 percent) and candles (7 percent) were other leading causes of Christmas tree fires within that five-year timeframe, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports.
 
Christmas tree fires are rare but, when they do occur, they can have serious repercussions. Home Christmas tree fires caused, in that same five-year period (2007-2011), an annual average of six civilian deaths, 22 civilian injuries and $18.3 million in direct property damage, the NFPA found.
 
“Standard homeowners insurance policies pay to repair or rebuild a fire-damaged residence, while both homeowners and renters insurance policies cover a policyholder’s personal belongings if they are damaged or destroyed by fire,” said Michael Barry, vice president, I.I.I.
 
When placing a Christmas tree in your home, it should be at least three feet away from any heat source, like a fireplace, candle, or radiator. In addition, the tree should not be blocking an exit. When lighting the tree, replace any string of lights with broken cords, or loose bulb connections, notes the NFPA. And Christmas tree lights should always be turned off before leaving home, or going to bed.
 

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