Safety tips when choosing, decorating your Christmas tree

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(Jon Zimney/95.3 MNC)

Many Hoosiers decorate their homes with Christmas trees in the winter. While they can be enjoyable, Christmas trees can also be a source of fuel in a fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in recent years, Christmas trees were the first item ignited in an estimated average of 210 reported home structure fires.

Here are a few quick tips to reference for Christmas tree safety:

  • When choosing and buying a live tree, select one that is green. Needles should not fall off when touched. Have the tree shaken at the time of purchase to remove any dry or brown needles.
  • If possible, choose a tree that is cut on-site at the time of purchase. If the tree has already been cut, find out how long ago, and choose one that was cut recently.
  • Verify that the tree stand is sturdy enough to hold the tree, to eliminate tipping hazards. Make sure that there is sufficient capacity for water.
  • Before placing the live tree in the tree stand, cut 1-2” from the base of the trunk for better water intake. Add water to the tree stand daily.
  • Place the tree at least three feet away from any heat source such as candles, fireplaces, heat vents, radiators or space heaters.
  • Do not block an exit with the tree.
  • If the needles become brittle and fall off easily, the tree has become dry, which is a fire hazard.
  • If wondering what to do with a dry tree, follow this simple guide. Don’t store the tree in the garage, other places in the home, or against the outside of the home. Instead, check with local communities to find a recycling program.
  • Lastly, if the right Christmas tree is an artificial one, it still makes good sense to confirm that the manufacturer of the tree identifies it as being fire retardant. Even if fire retardant, keep away from furnace vents, space heaters, candles, etc.

For more information on holiday safety, visit GetPrepared.IN.gov.

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