State fire officials share how to safely dispose of used Christmas trees

Marion

The National Fire Protection Association is encouraging prompt removal of Christmas trees to be pro-active against house fires.

“Christmas trees are combustible items that become increasingly flammable as they continue to dry out,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “The longer you keep one in your home, the more of a fire hazard it becomes.”

Though tree fires aren’t common, NFPA statistics show 33 percent of U.S. Home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January. Each year, one of every 45 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death…Compared to one per 139 total fires.

All Christmas trees can burn, but a dried out tree can become engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds,” said Carli. “In recent years, we’ve seen tragic incidents where Christmas tree fires have resulted in deadly consequences for multiple family members, including young children.”

NFPA recommends using a recycling program, if possible. Trees shouldn’t be put in the garage or left outside. 

The association also offers these tips for safely removing lighting and decorations and storing them properly to ensure that they’re in good condition the following season:

Use the gripping area on the plug when unplugging electrical decorations. Never pull the cord to unplug any device from an electrical outlet, as this can harm the wire and insulation of the cord, increasing the risk for shock or electrical fire.


As you pack up light strings, inspect each line for damage, throwing out any sets that have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires.


Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags, or wrap them around a piece of cardboard.


Store electrical decorations in a dry place away from children and pets where they will not be damaged by water or dampness.

For more information, visit the National Fire Protection Association website.

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