When you deck the halls this holiday season it's important to keep fire-safety in mind. Christmas trees are the center of many homes holiday decorations. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) more than one of every four home Christmas tree fires are caused by an electrical problem. A heat source too close to the tree caused one in every four of those fires.
If you choose to have a real tree in your home, here are several tips you need to keep in mind when selecting a tree, bringing it home and when to dispose of the tree.
- Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Before placing the tree in a stand, cut off 2" inches from the base of a trunk.
- Make sure the tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat sources, such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
- Make sure the tree is NOT blocking an exit.
- Be sure to add water to the tree stand. Don't be surprised if the tree drinks a lot of water the first day. Continue to water the tree daily.
- Use lights that have been tested by a recognized testing laboratory. Check to see if your lights are rated for indoor use, outdoor use or both.
- Replace any strand of lights if they have a worn or broken cord or have loose bulb connections. Read manufactures recommendations on how many strands can be connected.
- NEVER use candles to decorate a tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before going to bed or leaving the house.
It is time to dispose of the tree after Christmas or when the tree starts to dry out. Dried out Christmas trees are fire hazard should NOT be placed in a garage or up against the house. Check with your local community to see if they have a Christmas tree recycling program. Bring in all outdoor lights and extension cords after the holidays to prevent hazards and to preserve them for longer use.