Christmas Tree Safety

McKinney Fire Department provides Christmas tree safety tips

The McKinney Fire Department recommends residents protect themselves when they deck the halls this holiday season. A small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree or starts with a Christmas tree can grow large very quickly.

On average, 260 home fires begin with Christmas trees each year, resulting in 12 deaths, 24 injuries and $16.4 million in property damage according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). An additional 150 home fires per year begin with holiday lights, candles and other decorative lighting, causing another eight deaths, 16 injuries and $8.9 million in property damage each year.

Christmas Tree:

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut two inches from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use. 
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer's instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

Dispose of your tree after Christmas. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home, garage, or placed outside against the home. McKinney citizens can leave their Christmas trees by the curb on their regular scheduled trash pickup day

Below are more holiday safety tips to keep in mind.

Holiday decorating:

  • Be careful with holiday decorations by choosing decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Fresh greenery decorations should be misted with water daily and a Christmas tree base should be submerged in water at all times.
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and objects that can burn.
  • Check the package of lights. Some lights are only prescribed for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights that have worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended number of light strands to connect so you don’t overpower a circuit.
  • Use clips, not nails or staples, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors.

Holiday entertaining:

  • Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
  • Ask anyone who would like to smoke to smoke outside and remind them to keep smoking materials from young children.
  • Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding.

By taking simple steps, your chances of preventing a home fire improves greatly.

More Information 

For additional information, please contact the McKinney Fire Department at 972-547-2850 or visit