ERIE, Pa. (Jan. 4, 2017) — Following up on its public service announcement video demonstrating the fire danger posed by real Christmas trees, Erie Insurance is now urging consumers who haven't yet disposed of their Christmas trees to do so as soon as possible to avoid a major catastrophe.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, four in 10 (40 percent) of home fires ignited by Christmas trees happen in January. What's worse, those fires are much more deadly than average. NFPA statistics show that one of every 40 house fires that start from Christmas trees result in a death, compared with one death per 142 of all reported home structure fires.
"Many people love their Christmas decorations and choose to leave them up for a few weeks after the holiday, but when it comes to a dried-out live Christmas tree, that's a dangerous risk to take," said
, vice president of property and subrogation claims, Erie Insurance. "We want families to enjoy the post-holiday season safely; we don't want them to be displaced from their homes due to a fire, or even worse, caught in a life-threatening situation."
Prior to Christmas, Erie Insurance teamed up with the Erie, Pa., Fire Department to stage a fire in a vacant home which showed how a Christmas tree fire can fill a room with toxic smoke in just 30 seconds and burn down an entire living room in one minute.
Recent national reporting done by NFPA showed Christmas trees resulted in an annual average of seven civilian fire deaths, 19 civilian fire injuries and $17.5 million in direct property damage during a four-year period.
When people do dispose of their trees, both NFPA and The National Christmas Tree Association recommend recycling the tree, either through a local curbside pickup recycling program or by taking it to a drop-off recycling center. The National Christmas Tree Association also offers these additional tips for reusing and recycling Christmas trees.