Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP – Personal Injury Law – Michael J. HenryThe holiday season is a joyous time, but it can be quickly spoiled by a fire in your home. While fires can happen at any time of the year, there are significantly more home fires around this time as a result of improper care of Christmas trees.

  • When choosing using a real tree, remember that it will only stay fresh for  four weeks, so keep this in mind when you buy. Look for fresh green needles that are hard to pluck and do not break away from the branches. The tree should not easily be shedding its needles.
  • Be sure to make a fresh cut off  the bottom of the tree when you get home and always place it in water.  Use a proper tree stand so that water can enter the base of the tree. You might be surprised at how much water the tree will draw, so be sure to check the water level daily which will ensure that the tree keeps fresh.
  • Always place the tree away from any heat sources like fire places, candles and space heaters. Under no circumstances should candles be used on a tree.
  • Make sure you are using appropriate indoor and outdoor lights. The lights should have been tested and have the appropriate CSA designation. Do not use damaged lights. Throw them away. Make sure to plug lights into a circuit that is grounded. The same rules apply to artificial trees.
  • When you go to bed each night, do not forgot to turn off the lights. It will save energy and it will also avoid any electrical fires that might occur while you and your family are asleep.
  • Even a well-watered tree should be taken down and discarded after four weeks. If you notice your tree is dropping needles, check that there is water and that the water is able to enter the tree. If it continues to drop needles, it is time to get rid of it.
  • Be sure that your tree is discarded promptly. Many municipalities have scheduled Christmas tree pick up dates, so co-ordinate accordingly. Do not allow your discarded tree to languish on your property, as they are an attractive target for arsonists.

While you are at it, do not forget to change the batteries in your smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors. Even if the batteries still work, they should be changed on a yearly basis regardless.

From everyone at Howie, Sacks & Henry, have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

Michael Henry is one of the founding partners of Howie, Sacks & Henry.  He can be reached at 416-361-0998 or

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