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Monday, December 22nd - 4:45 PM
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A word on Christmas Tree safety from Fire

Release Date: 12/18/2012 8:50:00 AM

A Christmas tree is extremely flammable, especially after it’s been in your home for several weeks. The combination of oil, pitch and dry branches is excellent fuel that if ignited, can become an eight-foot blow torch in your home. The key is to keep your tree as fresh as possible and reduce the chances that it ever ignites. The SFD advises the following safety tips this season.

Keep your tree fresh:

Start with a fresh tree by cutting one yourself or doing the ‘grab test’ when choosing a previously cut tree from a lot. Grab the branches and run them through your hand; the needles should not come off in your hand. If they do, the tree is too dry.

Make a fresh cut at the base of the tree when you are ready to place it in the tree stand. This ensures that the tree is able to begin absorbing water. (This is the same principle as cutting the stems of flowers before placing in water.)

Keep your tree watered:

While there are products that are marketed for Christmas trees fresh, the most important element is water. It is critical to keep the water level up over the base of the tree trunk. If it falls below, the tree will form a seal of pitch and will no longer absorb water. The average tree consumes between a quart and gallon of water each day so it’s important to check the water level every day.

Reduce your chance of a fire:

Decorate your tree with UL-approved miniature lights. They produce less heat and reduce the drying effect upon a tree. Reduce your risk of a fire by not overloading your electrical socket with too many strands of lights connected end to end. For added protection, plug your lights into an electrical power strip with a surge suppressor that will trip if it’s overloaded. You should also unplug the lights before going to bed or leaving your home, and place your tree away from heat sources and open flames including fireplaces and candles.

Check all smoke alarms to ensure they are working in case of a fire and keep all matches and lighters out of reach of children. If a fire breaks out, never attempt to extinguish it yourself! Get out and call 9-1-1.

Check out this video link that demonstrates the flammability of a Christmas Tree in your home. http://fire.nist.gov/tree_fire.htm

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