Christmas Tree safety with the MSFA

Published 8:58 pm Sunday, December 19, 2021

JACKSON, Miss. – As Mississippians decorate for Christmas, many will buy live trees that need to be watered daily to prevent them drying out and catching fire. There have been 92 fire deaths in Mississippi so far in 2021. That’s compared to 61 at this time last year. To prevent more fire deaths, the Mississippi State Fire Academy recommends the following fire safety measures.

  • Use holiday decorations made with flame‐retardant or non‐combustible materials.
  • Carefully inspect new and previously used light strings and replace damaged items before plugging lights in.
  • Use lights approved by Underwriter’s Laboratories.
  • Do not overload extension cords.
  • Keep children and pets away from light strings and electrical decorations.
  • Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree, and make sure any lit candles in the room are placed away from tree branches.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Cut at least two inches off the bottom of the tree trunk before placing it in a stand.
  • Live trees can “drink” one gallon of water of water daily.
  • Check water at least twice daily.
  • Make sure the tree is at least six feet away from any heat source.
  • Take the tree down when it becomes dry.
  • Recycle it, use it as a fish shelter in a farm pond or put it out with the trash.
  • Do not burn a tree in the fireplace. Heat may explode the wood and set the room on fire.

Three Quick facts from the NFPA

  • Almost one third of home Christmas Tree fires are caused by electrical problems.
  • Although Christmas Tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes more than one in every five of the fires.

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