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The Christmas tree is a holiday season tradition. The Christmas tree is also the cause of more than 200 structure fires per year according to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA).
“While trees are a tradition of holiday décor, many people do not realize the extreme fire risk they present when not properly chosen or maintained,” said Ron Kunda, City of Bismarck Fire Marshal. The Bismarck Fire Department suggests that by following a few basic safety tips during this holiday season, you can reduce your risk of having a fire.
Picking the tree• If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.• Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
Placing the tree• Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1–2” from the base of the trunk.• Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.• Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.• Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
Lighting the tree• Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.• Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.• Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.• Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
After ChristmasGet rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check within your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.