Christmas tree safety tips from ‘Know Your Enemy’ team

Posted at 1:33 PM, Dec 21, 2012
and last updated 2013-03-20 14:49:50-04
Know Your Enemy

Know Your Enemy

Happy Holiday to all from the PIX11 “Know Your Enemy” team. The winter holiday season should be a joyous time of year.For many people, decorating the Christmas tree is a favorite part of the holiday, but did you know that each year, fire departments respond to more than 200 structure fires caused by Christmas trees.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, these fires cause 14 deaths, 26 injuries and $13.8 million in property damage yearly.

Here are some Christmas tree safety tips  to make sure a mishap doesn’t spoil your holiday season.

Buying a Tree or Picking a Tree:

1-  Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needles should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long and has probably dried out and is a fire hazard.

2- When purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.

Placing the tree:

1- Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1–2” from the base of the trunk.

2- Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

3- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.

4- Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

5-Choose a sturdy tree stand designed not to tip over.

Decorations and lighting the tree:

1- When decorating Christmas trees, always use safe tree lights. (Some lights are designed only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.) Larger tree lights should also have some type of reflector rather than a bare bulb and all lights should be listed by a testing laboratory.

2- 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.

3- Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.

4- Never Place lighted candles on a tree or near any flammable materials.

5- Do not hang popcorn chains and candy canes on the tree when small children are present. They may think that other tree ornaments are also edible.

6- Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass “angel hair.” Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

After the Holidays:

1- Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.

2- When taking lights and decorations off the tree, inspect the holiday lights  for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and extend their life.

Christmas time is one of the greatest times of the year for families and friends to enjoy each other and exchange gifts. Don’t let your Holiday be ruined by a careless mistake when picking, decorating or disposing of your Christmas tree. Be safe and follow these safety tips.