Protect Residents and Building from Christmas Tree Fire Hazards
As Christmas approaches, many of your residents will be setting up Christmas trees in their units. Although a beautifully decorated tree can add to the holiday spirit and help create a fragrant indoor atmosphere, Christmas trees can also pose a serious fire hazard to residents’ units as well as to your building. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, Christmas trees account for an average of 200 fires annually, resulting in six deaths, 25 injuries, and more than $6 million in property damage. Typically, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters, or matches start tree fires.
The Insider consulted fire-safety agencies and experts for tips on how to prevent safety problems with Christmas trees. These tips emphasize the dangers of dry and neglected trees. In other words, residents who choose well-watered fresh trees and who maintain them properly can greatly minimize the risk of fire.
From these suggestions, we put together a Model Letter: Give Residents Dos and Don’ts for Christmas Tree Safety. The sections in the letter cover tips for choosing Christmas trees, caring for and decorating trees, and tree disposal. You can make copies of this list and distribute them to your residents several weeks before Christmas. It can be a nice way of wishing your residents the best for the holiday season and letting them know that the management cares about their safety.
Establish a Tree Disposal Policy
In conjunction with providing a list of safety tips to your residents, you should develop a tree-disposal policy if you don’t already have one. A policy can make things easier for your building staff, and it can make your site safer. It can make cleanup easier for your maintenance staff, since they will know which days are designated as tree-disposal days, and it will eliminate the potential danger of a fire starting in a pile of neglected and discarded trees. Here are some items your policy might cover:
· Tell residents that they should tie their trees up with twine when they’re ready to get rid of them. Have twine available at the manager’s office if they need it.
· Give residents a deadline for getting rid of their trees—for example, by Jan. 10.
· Set certain days during the week for residents to get rid of their trees—for example, Tuesdays and Thursdays. You may want to pick your normal trash-collection days.
· Designate a spot where residents can leave their trees.
· Order an extra Dumpster for the weeks after Christmas.
· Check with your local fire departments. Some offer free disposal services as long as the trees are left in one place.
Nancy Campbell: Fire Education Coordinator, Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal, 4760 Portland Rd. NE, Salem, OR 97305; www.oregon.gov/OSP/SFM/.
See The Model Tools For This Article
|Give Residents Dos & Don'ts for Christmas Tree Safety|