AAA is urging everyone to be extremely careful when transporting a Christmas tree this holiday season, according to a spokesperson with AAA.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, around 25 to 30 million live Christmas trees are sold every year in the U.S., the spokesperson said in a media release shared with News Center 7.
Around 44% of Americans who buy a real Christmas tree will transport the tree using unsafe methods, the spokesperson said. Many people may tie the tree to the roof of their vehicle without using a roof rack, which can become a costly mistake.
“If not properly secured, a tree can cause vehicle damage such as scratched paint, torn door seals, distorted window frames, or even worse, it could fly off the vehicle,” AAA Public and Government Affairs Manager, Kara Hitchens, said.
Past research from AAA showed that road debris was the cause of more than 200,000 crashes throughout a four year period, with approximately 39 thousand injuries and 500 deaths, the spokesperson said.
When transporting your tree, it is best to strap it to the roof of the vehicle on a roof rack, the spokesperson said. If you do not have a roof rack, use the back of a pickup truck, an SUV, van or minivan that can fit the entire tree inside the vehicle with the doors shut.
Have the tree wrapped in netting and use strong rope to attach the straps to the rack, the AAA spokesperson said. Have the bottom of the trunk facing the front of the vehicle.
Give the tree a tug test before driving off to ensure it is secured to the vehicle, the spokesperson said.
Once you have made it back to your home with your tree, proper placement of the tree is important to avoid a house fire, according to the National Fire Protection Association and AAA.
- Have the tree at least three feet away from any heat source
- Make sure the tree isn’t blocking an exit
- Add water to your tree daily
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections
- Do not use lit candles to light the tree
- Always turn off the lights on the tree before going to bed or leaving home
“No one wants to have their holiday ruined- or face a tragedy- because of a house fire that could have been prevented,” Hitchens said. “While you may look at your tree as the centerpiece of your holiday decorations, you must treat it as a potential fire danger and take steps to protect your family and your home.”
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