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It’s already that time of year again, and I’m not just talking about dealing with the tremendous earworm that is every single Christmas song ever. No, I’m talking about Christmas trees! Here is some very useful safety information from one of the Best Certified Columbus Ohio home inspection companies.   For those of you who celebrate Christmas, you’ve probably got this year’s Christmas tree on your mind by now. Maybe you’re one of those early birds who gets their tree around Thanksgiving, and you’ve already got your tree! Whichever side of the debate you’re on, though not as fun, you should definitely also be thinking about fire safety.  

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported in 2015 that each year between 2009 and 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to over 200 home fires in which Christmas trees were the first item to catch. According to the United States Fire Administration, fires hitting over the holidays injure 2,600 people and cause more than $930 million in damages annually. Even worse, Christmas tree related fires have a higher fatality rate than those of the typical house fire, making it ever more important to practice good fire safety around the holidays.  

When choosing a tree, choose a fresh tree over a cheap and dry one. The fresher tree poses a lesser fire hazard than the dry one. Examine before you buy, looking for flexible needles that don’t snap off in your hand, and a trunk with sap. After the tree has been put up, you should keep water in the tree stand constantly and the stand should be solid enough to withstand tampering by children and pets; all those lights and ornaments make attractive playthings for them!  

In the majority of tree fires-nearly half, to be more specific-an electric failure or malfunction is to blame. In more than 20 percent of the fires, Christmas lights with live voltage were involved. Nearly a quarter of fires were caused by a heat source too close to the tree. Use common sense here: don’t overload extension cords with plugs, run cords along walls instead of under carpet or rugs, use low energy lights without damaged or frayed cords, and turn them off at night as well as when you’re away. And keep your tree away from heat! Place your tree away from fireplaces, heaters, candles, and even your TV.   Of course, this doesn’t mean artificial trees are in the clear. Electrical malfunctions can ignite artificial trees, too, and you should take the same precautions in regard to tree placement and decorations as you would with a real tree. Ensure that your artificial tree is flame resistant and, if the tree has built-in lights, that it has a seal for an approved safety testing laboratory.  

After the holiday season, take care to dispose of your tree properly. The NFPA states that even a well-watered tree should be taken down within four weeks of being put up. So, you really shouldn’t wait until New Year’s Day to haul the tree out. Don’t forget that your tree will have become extremely dry by this time, and the fire hazard it already presents is now heightened. Don’t even keep a dry tree in your garage. It’s a great idea to keep a fire extinguisher nearby, too. Make sure everyone in the house knows exactly where it is and how to use it.   Don’t let worries of fire make you paranoid this holiday season. If you’re careful and smart, you’ll be fine. Merry Christmas, and happy holidays!   Written by Kaitlyn Troth of Troth Media Troth Media FB page

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