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5 Ways to Avoid a Christmas Tree Fire0

A sparkly Christmas tree is nice to look at.  But, . . .

according to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 260 house fires each year between 2003 and 2008—all caused by Christmas trees igniting.  The resulting property damage came to a whopping $13.8 million and also caused an average of 14 deaths annually.

While 14 deaths a year may not seem like an overwhelming statistic in the whole scheme of things, any single death that is avoidable is a tragedy.

So how can you avoid turning your Christmas into an inferno?

1.  If you use an artificial tree,  make sure that it carries a tag stating that it is fire resistant.  Sure, it’ll still burn—but it will be easier to extinguish.

2.  If you purchase a live tree, make sure it’s green and that the bottom of the trunk is sticky with resin.  The needles should be difficult to pull from the branches, and make sure you keep it watered.

Take a look at the difference watering your live tree makes.  The dry tree is on the left:

Egad!  And I thought the fat old guy crawling into my house via the chimney was scary!

3.  Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials when decorating your tree.  Make sure you check each set of lights (even if they’re new).  And even though it looks soooooooo pretty, make sure you turn the lights off before going to bed or leaving the house.  One faulty light and your living room could look like that video.

4.  Place your tree at least three feet away from a heat source such as a fire place, candles, or electric heater.

5.  Never, under any circumstances, use candles on your tree.  I don’t really  have to tell you that, right?

Somebody forgot to tell those people.

Is that tree incredibly pretty?  Sure.  But I don’t think little Billy’s gonna look so cute when he’s doing his Human Torch impersonation.

For more information on Christmas tree safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association.

by John Barker

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