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Fire safety tips for holiday decorating

Virus Outbreak Christmas Trees
Posted at 11:38 AM, Dec 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-08 12:38:23-05

Decorating for the holidays is a joyous occasion for millions of Americans. However, some decorations may pose a fire risk.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an estimated 160 house fires were blamed on Christmas trees between 2015 and 2019.

The organization offers numerous tips to prevent a Christmas tree from catching fire:

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit
  • Be sure to add water daily
  • Use lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands that can be connected
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed

Outdoor lights can also pose hazards. The NFPA says people should use clips, not nails, when hanging lights. The organization says it's also important to make sure fire alarms and smoke detectors are working.