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Holiday Tree and Candle Safety

Longmont Fire Department

 

Holiday sceneHoliday Hazard Tips

Selecting a Tree for the Holiday
Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases.

Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back room the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

Caring for Your Tree

Water that tree! Watch this short clip to show you what can happen, and how quick if you don't keep that tree watered!

Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times. Do not block door ways or/and exits with the tree.

Disposing of Your Tree
Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or woodburning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. Here are some ways that Longmont residents can dispose of their trees

Recycle Christmas Trees at Various Longmont Locations

HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Maintain Your Holiday Lights
Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved tested laboratory.

Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to touch.

DO NOT LEAVE HOLIDAY LIGHTS ON UNATTENDED


HOLIDAY DECORATIONS

Use only Nonflammable Decorations
All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.

Never Put Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace
It burns rapidly and can quickly get out of control.

Artificial Holiday Trees
If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.


CANDLE SAFETY

Over the last twenty years candles have become more popular, which has led to an increase in fires especially in bedrooms. When people fall asleep with candles burning, the candle can easily ignite mattresses and blankets.

Another common cause of candle fires is children playing with or around candles. Adults need to supervise candles, and blow them out when they leave the room or go to sleep. Candles need to be at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn (Christmas trees, decorations, curtains, and bedding).

For safety, candles should also be kept away from drafts, children and pets. Candles should be placed in a spot where they cannot be knocked over, and in a candle holder that cannot burn. If the candle has multiple wicks it can produce higher flames and be a fire danger. Candles with decorations inside them should not be used, as the paper or tree bark can catch on fire. Wicks should be trimmed to 1/4 inch and taper candles should not be allowed to burn closer than 2 inches to the candle holder.

Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree

Do not go near a holiday tree with an open flame - candles, lighters or matches.

Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan. Never leave children unattended in a room with lit candles.

 

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