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How to Minimize Your Risk of a Christmas Fire: 12 Holiday Fire Prevention Tips from the CPSC

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Holiday Fire Prevention Tips from the CPSC

Each year, firefighters in the U.S. respond to about 250 calls related to home fires caused by Christmas trees, according to officials at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). And while a home fire during the holidays can be as tragic as it may be devastating and injurious, what can be worse is knowing that these fires could have been prevented with a little more care and attention.

In an effort to help all Americans enjoy a safe and festive holiday season this year, here are some essential Christmas decorating safety tips from the CPSC.

Avoiding a Holiday Home Fire: Christmas Tree Safety

  1. If purchasing an artificial tree, be sure to buy one that specifies that it is "fire resistant."
  2. If purchasing a live tree, avoid buying a tree that is already dried out (as evidenced by a dulling color, losing needles, etc.).
  3. Do not set up your Christmas tree near a fireplace or any heating source, as heat can dry out trees far more quickly.
  4. Regularly replenish the water in the tree stand.
  5. Never decorate a Christmas tree with flammable or combustible materials.
  6. If using candles as part of your holiday decorations, keep these far away from the Christmas tree.
  7. Never place Christmas lights on a metallic tree.
  8. Check strands of lights before hanging them on Christmas trees to be sure they don't have any frayed wires that could spark and cause fires.
  9. Don't attach more than three sets of standard Christmas lights to a single extension cord, as this can increase the risk of electrical fires.
  10. Before going to bed or leaving your home (e.g., to go to work), be sure to unplug the lights on your Christmas tree. If the lights short when you are not home, there will be far greater chances of a Christmas tree fire starting.
  11. Do not burn old/dry Christmas trees in home fireplaces (when you are ready to take your tree down), as dry trees can quickly burst into flames.
  12. Plan for safety. Develop a fire emergency plan, and go over it with everyone in your household. If everyone knows what to do if or when a home fire breaks out, there will be far greater chances that everyone will get out safe.

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