AAA offers tips to keep your holidays from going up in flames

Real Christmas trees can make your spirits bright, but if not cared for properly, can be a hazard in your home.
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 5:54 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Real Christmas trees can make your spirits bright, but if not cared for properly, can be a hazard in your home.

It is a holiday tradition that only comes around once a year, a family visit to the Christmas tree farm. AAA of Kansas said if you are not careful though, that tree may not make it home.

“About 40% of people when they transport a real tree home are not doing it correctly in terms of not having that tree properly secured,” said AAA of Kansas spokesperson Shawn Steward.

He said first, you need the right vehicle. ”The best thing is tying the tree to a roof rack on your vehicle if it has one,” he added. “You can certainly put it in the back of a pickup or inside your van or SUV if there is space, but the key is just to make sure it is not able to fly off or out of your vehicle on the way home.”

Next, Steward said you need the proper tools. ”Make sure to have a strong set of rope or ratchet straps, have a good pair of gloves, and we recommend taking along an old blanket to protect your vehicle if you are laying it on top of the vehicle,” he said.

Finally, avoid the highways. ”As you are driving home, take the side roads if you can, take it slow and that will just help keep that tree secured on your vehicle and keep it from flying off,” Steward said.

Once you are ready to deck the halls, Steward said there is also a few safety tips to keep in mind so your holiday does not go up in flames.

”Real trees can very quickly dry out, especially with your heater going, and that can create a fire hazard,” he continued saying, “It is very important to keep that tree well cared for and well watered.”

While the twinkling lights make the season bright, Steward advises to unplug them before bed or when leaving home.

”You never know when some kind of electrical failure with those lights or a flaw in the wiring could create a fire, especially with the real trees and how dry they can get,” he said. “It is very important to turn off those lights when your tree is unattended.”

Steward also said to place your live Christmas tree away from heat source hazards like a fireplace or candles.