Jul 29, 2014
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Tips to Prevent a Christmas Fire in Your Home

Make sure you water your tree and make sure those Christmas lights aren't frayed.

Whether you have a real Christmas tree or an artificial one, each tree could have your holiday plans go up in flames.

The Sarasota County Fire Department passes along the following tips to keep your holiday celebration safe:

  • Use safety-tested and appropriate tree lights—indoor or outdoor. 
  • Never use electric lights on a metal tree.
  • Never use lights with worn, frayed or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Always unplug Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to sleep.
  • Never use candles to decorate a tree.
  • Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water daily. Do not purchase a tree that is dry or dropping needles.
  • When purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source and try to position it near an outlet so that cords are not running long distances. Do not place the tree where it may block exits.
  • Safely dispose of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in a house or garage, or placed against the house.
  • Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Keep candles away from items that can catch fire and use candle holders that are sturdy, won’t tip over easily and made from a material that can’t burn.
  • Don’t place lit candles in windows, where blinds and curtains can close over them.
  • Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.

Make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers that bear the UL mark. Smoke alarms should be installed, tested and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you didn’t change the batteries in your smoke alarm in the fall, do it now.

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