Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - 3:24am
Each year, fire departments respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Keep your holiday safe by following some simple guidelines:
•If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
•When purchasing a live tree, choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
•Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1-2" from the base of the trunk.
•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.
•Be sure to add water to the tree stand daily.
•Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. 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.
•Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
•Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
•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.
•48% of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems.
•A heat source too close to the tree causes 27% of the fires.
- Lori Wirth, 608-266-5947