The air is crisp and cold as a snowball, the wind is whipping the leaves across the lawn, the smell of burning wood in a fireplace is in the air. It’s November, it’s the holiday season! Families across the country are about to embark on the journey of preparing their homes for the up-and-coming holiday gatherings with friends and family to celebrate their cultures traditions. There will be decorations, and food, and more decorations and even more food. Typically, if Christmas is in your family’s future a tree will be either purchased at a store or harvested from an arborist. This passage will take a deep dive into the Christmas tree, its origin, verities, and potential dangers if not cared for properly.
The tree, more specifically the Christmas tree, is a decorated tree usually either real or fake similar in appearance that signifies the celebration of Christmas dating back to the second half of the 19th century. Some historical accounts have documented the Christmas tree dating as far back as the 16th Century during the Renaissance in early modern Germany. The custom originating in Germany, was developed in medieval Livonia (present-day Estonia and Latvia), and in early modern Germany where German Protestant Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. They decorated the trees with roses made of colored paper, apples, wafers, tinsel, and sweetmeats. In that time those families fortunate enough to have a tree for Christmas also added light to the tree by way of candles. Candles were placed all over the tree which made it glow, much like the modern lights we use on tress we know today. Lastly, an angel or star might be placed at the top of the tree to represent the Angel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem, respectively, from the Nativity.
The natural Christmas tree is most commonly the species of Fir which have the benefits of not shedding needles when they dry out. Fir is also known to hold their color and sent for a long time. In North America, many varieties of Fir are harvested with some variations of pine. In the past, Christmas trees were often harvested from wild forests, but now almost all are commercially grown on tree farms. Almost all Christmas trees in the United States are grown on Christmas tree farms where they are cut after about ten years of growth and new trees planted. The life cycle of a Christmas tree from the seed to a 2-metre (7 ft) tree takes, depending on species and treatment in cultivation, between eight and twelve years.
More modern times call for an easier, faster, cleaner approach to things. This brings about the artificial tree. The artificial Christmas tree also dates as far back as the 19th century. These trees we made of goose feathers that were dyed green. Often the tree branches were tipped with red berries that served as candle holders. The modern-day artificial Christmas tree is made of recycled PVC and plastics. PVC trees are fire retardant but not fire resistant. Most of these days come with lights already wired to the tree affording a plug and play deployment.
With both types of trees comes enjoyment, warmth, and holiday spirit that the entire family can enjoy. But, at what cost? Not monetarily speaking, but in terms of safety, fire safety. The joys of the holiday can come crashing down in a ball of fire if Christmas tree fire prevention is not taken seriously. Real trees, if left unattended and un-watered, can dry out quickly. Once the tree loses its fuel moisture, it’s now tinder ready to burn. When combined with tinsel, lights and the warmth of a home, the tree is a major fire risk. An artificial tree possesses the same risks if not more. Plastic burns hotter, faster and off gases 200 percent more toxic smoke than wood. An artificial tree, especially one that has fake snow (flocking) will burn like it is coated in gasoline.
Before this holiday season kicks off into full swing prepare your home for the up-and-coming decorations, cooking, and gathering. Make sure you have working smoke detectors in all rooms. Make sure you have fire extinguishers in the house in different locations. If purchasing a real tree, make sure to keep track of a watering schedule so it does not dry out. For both real and artificial trees, make it a best practice to unplug your lights at night from the tree to the wall outlet. Lastly, consider your best fire safety tool available for a home, fire sprinklers. A fire sprinkler is a miniature firefighter that lives on the ceiling or wall 24/7 that will deploy at the right temperature to keep the fire under control so you and your family can escape the home quickly and safely. Smoke detectors are great to alert you to a fire, but smoke detectors combined with fire sprinklers are a lifesaving team that will afford you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.
For more information on fire sprinklers, speak to a fire sprinkler contractor or click this link Find a Contractor – NJFSAB & PenJerDel to find the closest one near you today.