Before you buy your tree, check for freshness. Buy a fresh tree that is green and needles are hard to pull from branches. Place your tree away from a fireplace, or any other heating sources. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways. Shorts in electrical lights or flames from candles, lighters or matches are typically the cause for tree fires. Provide plenty of water for your tree throughout the season to prevent a dry tree.
Make sure an artificial tree includes the label “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
When decorating outdoors, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Use only lights that have fused plugs and are for outdoor use only. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use.
Use caution on the ladder and stay away from power or feeder lines leading from utility poles. Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house. Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
For Additional Holiday Safety visit: www.rd.com/home/christmas-safety-checklist or visit your local fire station.
Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna