Christmas Tree Safety

Each year, U.S. fire departments respond to hundreds of house fires caused by Christmas trees.

Chief Mike Terpak, author of Fireground Size-Up, has provided this list of safety tips to ensure your family has a safe and fire-free Christmas holiday.

Remember fire safety is for everyone.

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When choosing a tree, look for one that is fresh and has green needles that don't fall off. Brownish needles indicate the tree is dried out and prone to catch fire.


Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2" from the base of the trunk. A fresh cut will allow the tree to absorb water once it is placed in stand.


When placing the tree - make sure the tree is at least 3 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!


Check the manufacturer's labels to ensure you use only lights and decorations that are flame-retardant.


Check holiday lights for frayed wires, excessive wear and loose bulbs.


Don't connect more than 3 strands of mini-string sets, and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.


Always turn off the lights on your tree before going to bed or leaving your home.


Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.


Always keep burning candles in sight and away from children, pets and holiday


Check that your smoke alarm is working properly.


Get rid of the tree after Christmas. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage or placed outside against the home.