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ABOVE: A demonstration shows how flammable a dry Christmas tree can be as opposed to a tree watered regularly. This test was conducted by the National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters Laboratories.

Originally published: 2012-11-30 12:01:10
Last modified: 2012-11-30 12:03:48

Fire department urges Christmas tree safety

by Staff Reports

The Boone Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association are urging residents to be “fire smart” as they deck the halls this holiday season.

One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems. A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every six of the fires.

Here are a few tips to prevent fires:

Picking the tree: Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing the tree: Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk. Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights. Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit. Add water to the tree stand daily.

Lighting the tree: Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Note that some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use. 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. Never use lit candles to decorate the tree. Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to sleep.

After Christmas: Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage or placed outside against the house. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.