Christmas tree care: What experts say you need to know

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WARREN COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Tis the season of Christmas tree shopping and gift-giving. With these things in mind, fire safety experts want to remind the public about how to properly care for and safely decorate your live tree in order to prevent it from becoming a fire hazard.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking for new hobbies and family activities, including picking out the perfect live Christmas tree for the holiday season. The National Christmas Tree Association predicts sales to increase by up to 20% this year.

Warren County Fire Coordinator Brian LaFlure said those who are choosing live Christmas trees over fake ones should know how to properly care for them in order to avoid them turning into a fire hazard, which is particularly true if they become too dry. “Christmas trees burn fast and hot when they ignite, and can quickly cause a major fire in a home if not properly maintained,” LaFlure said.

Ann Marie Mason, Warren County Director of the Office of Emergency Services, added, “When
decorating your homes this holiday season, be fire smart. Please follow these guidelines
regarding the care and decorating of your tree and other fire safety tips, to help ensure that
you have a happy and safe holiday!”

Some basic tips:

  • ALWAYS keep the tree stand secure and filled with water.
  • NEEDLES on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull off branches.
  • DO NOT place the tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent.
  • DO NOT put your live tree up too early or leave it up for too long.
  • DO NOT dispose of branches or needles in a fireplace or woodstove.
  • CHECK light strings to make sure none are frayed or damaged.
  • MAKE SURE smoke detectors are in working order, with fresh batteries.

Properly caring for a live tree is one of a number of home fire- and safety-related concerns for
the holiday season, according to Mason, LaFlure and NY State Office of Fire Prevention &
Control.

Some others to consider:

  • Candles offer nice ambience, but are a danger if not used properly. Ensure that they are
  • fully extinguished and away from materials that they can set ablaze.
  • Fireplaces and woodstoves are popular around the holidays, but chimneys should be
  • cleaned annually before use. Only burn dry hardwood.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors should be in place and checked before using any fire source in a building.

Additional New York Office of Fire Prevention & Control holiday safety tips can be found here.

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