Remember to follow Christmas tree safety tips to prevent yuletide hassles
December 19, 2010
NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 19, 2010
December is a month for celebration, but the merriment also carries fire hazards.
The state fire marshal has urged holiday revelers to pay special attention to Christmas trees to reduce the risk of a yuletide disaster.
“Fire safety should be a priority when putting up Christmas trees,” Fire Marshal Charles Duffy said. “Fires can start when you least expect them, but if you take the necessary precautions and avoid potential fire hazards you can reduce your family’s risk.”
The process starts as residents head to stores, lots and farms to select a tree. (Many sellers in the Issaquah area plan to offer trees through the holiday.)
Shoppers should test for freshness by gently grasping a branch between the thumb and forefinger and then pulling the needles; few needles should come off in the hand.
If a tree is shaken or bounced, a large amount of green needles should not fall from the tree. The loss of some interior brown needles is normal.
The fire marshal offers the following tips to care for a Christmas tree:
- Prior to placing the tree in the stand, cut a half-inch off of the trunk. The step — along with keeping the stand’s water reservoir full at all times — keeps the tree from drying out.
- Because a dried-out trees is highly flammable, the parched trees should not be left inside homes, garages or propped against the outside of houses.
- Both artificial and fresh-cut trees should be kept away from heat registers, space heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves and other heat sources. (All artificial trees should also be labeled as fire-retardant.)
- Select lights appropriate for indoor use and listed by a testing laboratory, such as UL, and follow all manufacturer’s instructions.
- Ensure all electrical wiring is in good condition, do not overload circuits and avoid using extension cords.
- Christmas tree lights should be turned off if people go to bed or leave the home.