Each year, fire departments respond to an average of 120 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Follow these 10 tips to avoid fire damage this season.
Artificial trees should be labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
Select a tree with fresh, green needles.
Place the tree at least three feet away from any heat source — including fireplaces, space heaters, candles, heat vents or lights.
The tree should never block an exit.
Water the tree daily.
Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use — not both. Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory.
Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
Replace strings of lights that have worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
When the tree’s needles begin to dry out, it’s time to bid farewell to the tree. Do not leave the tree in your home or garage, or even placed against the outside of your home.
Source: National Fire Protection Association, www.nfpa.org