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Christmas Tree Fire Danger - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Christmas Tree Fire Danger

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On average, every year U.S. fire departments respond to over 200 house fires started by Christmas trees. Resulting in 6 deaths, 22 injuries and over $18 million in damages.

Christmas tree fires can be particularly dangerous because they usually sit in a high traffic lower level parts of the house, like a family room or den. Usually surrounded by other combustible material such as gifts, drapes and furniture.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends the following advice on preventing a Christmas tree fire in your house.

Picking the tree

  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that don't fall off when touched.

Placing the tree

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1" - 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, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer's instructions for number of LED 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 when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

Fargo Firefighters remind you should always have working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in your house, in-case anything does go wrong.

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