Del. Firefighter Association Cautions on Christmas Tree Safety - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Firefighter Association Cautions on Christmas Tree Safety

DOVER, Del.- Volunteer fire departments throughout Delaware are encouraging everyone to practice fire safety during the Christmas holiday season.

"Each year, tragic fires claim lives and cause serious injury at a time when families and friends should be celebrating," said Delaware Volunteer Firefighter's Association President Charles H. Boyer. "The members of the DVFA, want this to be a safe holiday for everyone and with a few precautions, you can help make this happen."

"Christmas tree fires are the single biggest cause of injury, death and property damage during the holidays," said Richard Toulson, 1st vice president of the DVFA. "Taking the time to heed advice and practice fire safety will protect you and your family from needless dangers."

By following these few tips, you can reduce the threat of fire at home and in your business:

Picking the tree

  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing the tree

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1-2 inches from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

Lighting the tree

  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • 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 number of LED strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights and outdoor lights before leaving home or going to bed.

After Christmas

  • Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger 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. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

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