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FEMA Christmas Tree Fire Safety Tips

Decorating homes and businesses during the holiday season may increase your chances of fire, reminds U.S. Fire Administration officials.

Following a few, simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy, states U.S. Fire Administration officials (USFA).

USFA is an entity of the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association, and USFA, an estimated 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year.

Together, these fires result in 21 deaths and $25.2 million in direct property damage.

Remember:

  • Don’t put your live Christmas tree up too early, or leave it up for longer than two weeks.
  • Place trees away from heat sources, including fireplaces or heat vents. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks.
  • Keep the live tree stand filled with water at all times. 
  • Use only nonflammable decorations.
  • Don’t link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it’s safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.
  • Avoid using lit candles; consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.
  • Ensure Christmas trees and other holiday decorations don’t block an exit way.

For more tips on how to prevent a holiday fire and what to do in case a fire starts in your home, click here.

Ashley December 11, 2012 at 10:50 PM
I didn't realize the preferred time for having a tree up is two weeks. We put ours up on Black Friday.

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