Seasonal Safety Tips

Tree Tips
The holiday season is a time for fun and celebration. With the fresh fragrance of pine in the air and the glow of beautiful ornaments and multi-colored lights, holiday trees carry the spirit of the season. However, tree fires will spoil the holiday cheer. The devastation that a tree fire produces not only results in property damage, but also causes injury and even death to occupants.

When purchasing a natural tree, choose a fresh one. A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree. Check the freshness of a tree by color, scent, as well as the number of needles that fall from the branches. A fresh tree is deep green in color and has a strong scent of pine. When tapping the trunk on the ground, no more than a few needles should fall off.

Tree Location
This location should be away from fireplaces, radiators, or other heat sources. Be sure that it is out of the traffic pattern and does not block doorways. Before mounting, cut off about 2-inches from the trunk. Then mount the tree in a sturdy, water-holding stand with widespread legs. Be sure the tree is stable. Keep the stand full of water while the tree is indoors. Moreover, remember that heated rooms dry out trees rapidly. A dry tree is a fire hazard.

Artificial Tree
Artificial trees (plastic) should bear the UL label. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories or your tree should have a label reading, “fire-retardant.” Some unlabeled plastic trees will burn at a much more rapid rate.

Check Your Lights
Discard lights with broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, and loose connections. Decorate with lights that are for indoor use and are UL approved. Generally, use no more than three sets of lights per single extension. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and do not use more than the number of recommended lights in one circuit. Keep children and animals away from electrical decorations. All lights present the potential of hazards for curious kids and pets. Always turn off lights on trees when leaving home or going to bed.

Additional Information
For information on holiday fire prevention visit the United State Fire Administration or also visit Holiday Fire Safety Tips and Winter Driving Safety Tips (PDF).