For many people, one of the most festive parts of the holiday season is having a fresh smelling pine tree, decorated with lights and ornaments, as the focal point of the home.
In the rush of excitement of the holidays, however, safety precautions are sometimes overlooked.
It’s important to take the time to find a safe location for the tree, and set it up in a way so that it will not become a fire danger as the days and weeks go by. Because, while a holiday tree brings joy to many, it can also introduce danger unless care is taken.
A few tips include:
- Pick a fresh tree – they’re less of a hazard than dry trees. To check for freshness, try to bend a needle – fresh needles don’t break when bent.
- Water the tree daily throughout the holiday season to keep it fresh longer. This is especially important since it’s most likely located in a heated room, which will dry out the tree over time. Also keep your tree far away from fireplaces, heaters and radiators.
- Lighting. As you unpack your box of holiday decorations, you may find yourself grabbing the same strings of lights you used last year and possibly the year before! It’s important to carefully examine the cords and make sure there is no wear and tear. Also check to see that all the lights are working and no wires are exposed.
- Don’t fall! When decorating the top of a tall tree, or stringing lights across your windows, don’t use the arm of the sofa, or a wobbly side table to stand on. Bring in a step stool and use care.
- Don’t burn wrapping paper! It may be tempting to toss the gift wrapping paper right into the living room fireplace after opening a gift, but wrapping paper burns very hot and may create large flames. These flames can cause hot embers to blow into the home, or could ignite a chimney fire.
- How long should a tree stay up? As much as it becomes part of the home, with its lights giving the room a warm, cozy glow, a tree should be disposed of within 30 days of purchase. You can take your tree to a recycling center or have it picked up by a community service. Don’t burn the tree yourself, the needles burn very fast and hot, and could easily get out of your control.
Keeping a few of these tips in mind will help you enjoy and be safe this holiday season!
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