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Be Careful With Those Trees – Holiday Fire Safety

Posted on: December 9, 2011

It’s that time of year again: trees in shop windows, (electric) candles all around and of course, furnaces, fireplaces, space heaters and all manner of potentially flammable devices. It’s around this time many fire departments in your area will be hosting a variety of different events to show people just why they need to take extra precautions this holiday season. Every year, fire departments respond to an average of 210 building fires (residential and commercial) caused by holiday trees. If you’re planning on putting up a Christmas tree in your New Jersey, Delaware or Philadelphia building, be sure to follow these tips to prevent your holiday cheer from turning your business to coal!

Choosing a Tree

  • If you choose an artificial tree, make sure it is UL certified. This means it is fire retardant. Note: fire retardant does not mean it is fireproof – you still need to take precautions when you set it up.
  • If you go for a real tree instead, choose one with fresh green needles that don’t fall off when touched.

Putting Up the Tree

  • Whether your tree is artificial or real, keep it at least three feet away from any heat source, including fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not in the way of your building’s fire exits.
  • If it’s a real tree, make sure you add water to the tree stand daily.

Lighting the Tree

  • Make sure your lights are UL certified and are designed for indoor use.
  • Replace lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. When stringing lights, make sure you don’t connect more than three strands at a time.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off and unplug the lights before you leave for the night.

After the Holidays

  • If you’re using a real tree, get rid of it as soon as it starts to drop needles. Dried up trees are the number one cause of holiday season fires (if you’ve ever seen a fire department do a tree burn, you know they can go up in seconds!). Find a tree recycling program to take the old tree and dispose of it safely and usefully.

At Confires, we want everyone to have a happy and safe holiday season. If you’re planning on celebrating by putting up a holiday tree in your building, make sure you follow the tips above to prevent your holiday from becoming a nightmare!

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