A dried out Christmas tree can be totally consumed by a fire in less than 30 seconds.
- Christmas trees that are not kept moist can present a very serious fire hazard
- Most trees sold have been cut out of the state and have been drying out since they were harvested, which could have been as late as mid-November.
- Take special precautions when buying a Christmas tree. Trees with brown shedding needles should be rejected.
- If the tree looks green and fresh, take a long needle and bend it between the thumb and forefinger. If it snaps, the tree is too dry. Look for trees with needles that bend.
- When the trunk of a tree is bounced on the ground, a shower of falling needles shows that the tree is dry.
- When bringing a tree home, cut about an inch off the end of the trunk. This will remove the dried end and allow the tree to absorb water.
- Make checkerboard cuts into the base at different angles to make a greater surface for water absorption.
- Always turn off lights on trees and other decorations at the end of the night or when leaving the home.
- A short circuit in any of this equipment could cause a fire. Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.
- Damaged insulation in lighting on a metallic tree could cause the entire tree to be charged with electricity. To avoid this danger, use colored spotlights above or beside a metal tree, never fastened onto it.
- Keep children away from light sets and electrical decorations. All lights present a hazard for curious kids.
- When stringing the lights on the tree, be careful of placement. Keep all bulbs turned away from gifts and paper ornaments.
- Lights in windows can cause curtains and drapes to ignite.
- Keep candles a safe distance from other things.
- Keep candles out of the reach of children.
- Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.
- Always use non-flammable holders.
- Keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper.
- Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.
- Dispose of gift wrappings soon after opening presents. A room full of paper lying around on the floor is just one more holiday hazard.
- Place trash in an approved container.
- Do not burn wrappings in the fireplace. They may ignite suddenly and cause a flash fire.
- When choosing the finishing touches for decorating the tree, purchase tinsel or artificial icicles of a non-leaded material.
- Leaded materials may be hazardous if eaten by children or pets.
- Avoid any decorations that tend to break easily or have sharp edges.
- Keep tree trimmings that are small or have removable parts out of the reach of children. These pieces might be swallowed.