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Christmas Tree Safety Tips

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Your Christmas Tree is a beautiful addition to your home during the holiday season.  It brings you joy, cheer and reminds you of memories of Christmas past but are you and your family aware of Christmas Tree safety?

Per the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Bu following a few simple safety tips you can avoid tragedy during the holiday season.

When picking a tree:

  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
  • If you are getting a live tree, choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

When Placing the tree:

  • If the tree is live:
    • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1″ – 2″ from the base of the trunk.
    • Be sure to add water daily to prevent it from drying out.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Try to place the tree in a position that will not require stretching of cords across rooms and walkways.

Lighting & Decorating the tree:

  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory like UL or ETL/ITSNA. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
  • Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

After the holidays are over:

  • Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
  • Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

The U. S. Fire Administration website has a stunning video from the National Institute of Standards and Training (NIST) illustrating how a dry Christmas tree can act like a blowtorch in your living room.

The National Fire Protection Association has side-by-side video


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