Christmas Tree Fire Safety Tips

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Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and volunteer firefighters today offer important Christmas tree safety tips to Nassau residents during this holiday season.ChristmasTreeTips_121416A

“We all love Christmas trees and the beauty of Christmas lights during the season, but unfortunately, they also pose a fire hazard in our homes,” said Mangano. “While these types of fires are not common, when they do occur they are costly and often deadly—it only takes a matter of seconds before a tree can become fully engulfed.”

Christmas tree fires account for approximately 250 house fires each year in the United States, and of those, one-third are caused by electrical problems. A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every five of these fires. It can take only a few seconds for fire to fully engulf a room if a Christmas tree comes in contact with an ignition source, such as a frayed wire or candle.

To ensure holiday safety, Mangano offers the following safety tips:
• Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
• 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, such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
• Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
• Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
• 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 the 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, dispose of the tree immediately after Christmas or when it is dry. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard 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.

—Submitted by Nassau County

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