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The winter months are the peak time for fires, and Christmas trees placed too close to a heat source cause 1 in every 4 of those fires.1 Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and safe holiday season.


Christmas Tree Safety

  • Select a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.2
  • Cut tree bases at a 45 degree angle and place in water.3
  • Keep trees away from heat sources.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Decorations should be non-flammable or flame retardant.
  • Never use lit candles on a tree.4
  • Only lighting that has been reviewed by a nationally recognized organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), should be used.
  • Check light strings for frayed wire or other defects before use and replace as needed.
  • Make sure you place lights correctly, as most lights are designed for either indoor use or outdoor use only.5
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands that can be safely connected.
  • Turn off tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Be sure to add water daily. A dry tree is dangerous because it can catch on fire easily.6
  • When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.
  • Check with your local community to find a tree recycling program.7


General Fire Safety

  • Smoke alarms should be on every level of a home, including outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom.8
  • Alarms should be connected for the best protection, so when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms monthly by pushing the test button to make sure they’re still operational.
  • Replace smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
  • Plan and practice a home fire escape drill that includes two ways out of every room.
  • When entertaining guests, make sure they’re aware of escape routes.



*This article was originally published December 3, 2020.



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