Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, I Hope You're Watered Properly

You really can’t beat the smell of fresh pine coming from the tree at Christmas time. Those who prefer real trees to fake trees know this smell very well, and if they’re like me, they look forward to picking out the perfect tree and bringing it home to decorate. Sadly, real Christmas trees come with a catch, one that could put a serious damper on your holiday season. Consumers need to keep fire safety in mind when purchasing and displaying Christmas trees.
Some trees are cut a month or more before they arrive on the lot, so they are thirsty and need to be watered. Did you know that they can drink up nearly a gallon a day, depending on size?

To prevent a Christmas tree fire in the home, here are some safety tips:
  • Lights: Check your strands of lights to determine the number of strands that may be connected. Connect no more than three strands of push-in bulbs and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
  • Candles: Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Place any candles well away from tree branches.
  • Water: Try to keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water daily. To help a tree stay fresh, if it has been more than 6-8 hours since it was cut, cut off an inch or more from the bottom – a straight cut, not at an angle. Make sure the bottom of the tree is always immersed in water, and check the water levels once or twice a day.
  • Dry Trees: 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.
  • Artificial Trees: When purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant.
  • Heat Sources: Make sure the tree is at least three feet (one meter) away from any heat source, such as fireplaces and radiators. Try to position the tree near an outlet so that cords are not running long distances. Do not place the tree where it may block exits.
  • Also, please make sure you aren’t overloading your electrical outlets in the process of decorating!
Following these simple guidelines will help prevent your precious Christmas trees from looking like this....
And keep them looking like this...
I like the second one much better, don't you?

I'll see you all next year! Happy Holidays!

Samantha Minks
AmeriCorps NPRC Member 2013-2014
Preparedness Coordinator
American Red Cross-Kern Chapter

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