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Making your Christmas fire safe

Making your Christmas fire safe

Christmas trees enhance the color and cheer of the holiday. Exercise care in picking them, placing them, lighting them and disposing of them will assure they don't become safety hazards, says Wesson Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ken Carraway. He offers this advice:

1. Picking the tree

  • Choose an artificial tree that is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.

  • Make sure live trees have fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

2. Placing the tree

  • 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.

  • Add water to the tree stand daily.

3. Lighting the tree

  • 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. Read manufacturer’s instructions for the 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 bed.

4. After Christmas

  • 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. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.


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