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Tips on preventing Christmas decoration fires

Posted at 6:03 AM, Dec 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-04 13:21:57-05

Christmas trees and light displays can help make the holiday season magical, but hundreds of fires each year are caused by trees and lights.

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious.

The National Fire Protection Association says 250 home fires per year involve Christmas trees. In addition to another 170 home fires per year involve holiday lights.

Carefully decorating your home can help make your holidays safer.

Here are some tips provided by the NFPA: 

Picking a tree

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched

Placing the tree

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 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. Be sure to add water daily

Lighting the tree

  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections
  • Read manufacturer's instructions for number of light strands to connect 
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed

After Christmas

  • Get rid of the tree after Christmas. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home