PEMCO Insurance talks about risks with artificial vs. real trees

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SEATTLE — Whether your Christmas tree is real or artificial, each have a risk if you don’t take certain precautions.

PEMCO Insurance is giving safety tips for both.

When deciding between a real or artificial tree, it boils down to personal preference. Derek Wing, the Communications Manager at PEMCO Insurance said most people use artificial trees.

“Real trees tend to run about 75 dollars,” said Wing. “Artificial trees maybe on average about 120 dollars. Artificial trees are probably a little bit more cost effective.”

Wing said people don’t have to feel guilty about chopping down a Christmas tree.

Almost all Christmas trees are farmed crops, making them not much different from broccoli or lettuce.

They’re grown for about 10 years before they’re harvested and during that time, the trees are cleaning the air, stabilizing soil and preserving open farm land.

Your homeowners or renters insurance would cover damaged caused by a Christmas tree fire or even injuries to a guest if the tree fell over.

Safety tips for artificial trees:

  • Choose one labeled as fire retardant
  • Look for the "UL" seal on pre-lit trees
  • Anchor the tree to keep it from being knocked over

Safety tips for real trees:

  • Make a fresh cut and keep the stand filled with water
  • Tie it down carefully when you bring it home
  • Shake it before bringing it in
  • Keep the tree away from heat sources

For fire prevention, keep an eye on the lights no matter what kind of tree you have. Here's what PEMCO recommends:

  • Choose cool-burning LEDs
  • Throw away light strings if they are cracked, frayed or flickering
  • Never connect more light strings than recommended
  • Always unplug the tree at bedtime and when you leave




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