As you decorate your home for this coming holiday season, be fire smart. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) states that one of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical failures. Keep in mind that a small fire that gets to a Christmas tree can grow large very quickly. Taking the following simple precautions can help make your holidays safer:
- If you use an artificial Christmas tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
- If you’re opting for a natural tree, choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Make sure you place the tree at least three feet away from any heat source like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lamps.
- Add water daily to the tree stand to prevent the tree from getting too dry and thus highly flammable.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking a fire exit.
- Use only lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory and take into account that 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.
- Avoid overloading the power outlet.
- 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 hazard and should not be kept in the home or garage. 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.
Be safe, be smart, and be merry!
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