Beckley, WV (WOAY) – According to the National Christmas Tree Association, while artificial Christmas trees have become an affordable and safe option, there are still an estimated 25 to 30 million live Christmas trees sold annually in the U.S.
AAA encourages everyone to be safe when transporting a Christmas tree with the following tips:
- Use the right vehicle. It’s best to transport a Christmas tree on top of a vehicle equipped with a roof rack. However, if you do not have a roof rack, use the bed of a pickup truck, SUV, van, or minivan that can fit the tree inside with all doors closed.
- Bring proper tools. Bring strong rope or nylon ratchet straps to secure the tree to your vehicle’s roof rack. Avoid the lightweight twine offered by many tree lots. Bring an old blanket and gloves.
- Protect the tree―and your vehicle. Have the tree wrapped in netting before loading it. If netting is unavailable, secure loose branches with rope or twine. Use an old blanket to prevent paint scratches and protect the vehicle finish.
- Point the tree trunk towards the front. Always place the tree on a roof rack or in a pickup bed, with the bottom of the trunk facing the front of the vehicle.
- Tie it down. Secure the tree at its bottom, center, and top. At the bottom, use fixed vehicle tie-down points and loop around the trunk above a lower branch to prevent side-to-side or front-to-rear movement. The center and top tie-downs should be installed similarly.
- Give it the tug test. Before leaving the lot, give the tree several strong tugs from various directions to ensure it is secured and will not blow away.
- Drive slowly and easily. Take the back roads, if possible. Higher speeds create significant airflow that can damage your Christmas tree and challenge even the best tie-down methods.
AAA also urges families to use necessary precautions to prevent Christmas trees from becoming fire hazards, as December and January are peak months for home fires.
AAA and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offer the following tips to reduce the risk of a house fire:
- Ensure the Christmas tree is three feet away from any heat source (fireplace, radiator, candles, heat vents, or lights).
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
- Add water to your tree daily.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Never use lit candles to light the tree.
- Always turn off the lights on the tree before going to bed or leaving home.
For more information, visit www.AAA.com.