Most Christ­mas Tree Fires Oc­cur in Jan­uary

McDonald County Press - - COUNTY -

If you’re hav­ing trou­ble part­ing with your Christ­mas tree, here’s a fact to mo­ti­vate you: One-third (33 per­cent) of U.S. home fires that be­gin with Christ­mas trees oc­cur in Jan­uary. With this po­ten­tial fire haz­ard in mind, the Na­tional Fire Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion strongly en­cour­ages ev­ery­one to re­move Christ­mas trees from their homes promptly af­ter the hol­i­day sea­son.

“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.”

NFPA statis­tics show that Christ­mas tree fires are not com­mon but, when they do oc­cur, they’re much more likely to be se­ri­ous. On av­er­age, one of ev­ery 45 re­ported home fires that be­gan with a Christ­mas tree re­sulted in a death, com­pared to one death per 139 to­tal re­ported home struc­ture 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 the lo­cal com­mu­nity’s re­cy­cling pro­gram for tree dis­posal. If pos­si­ble, trees should not 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

“Christ­mas trees are com­bustible items that be­come in­creas­ingly flammable as they con­tinue to dry out.” Lor­raine Carli, Na­tional Fire Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion

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 on home fire safety all win­ter long, visit “Put a Freeze on Win­ter Fires,” a win­ter safety cam­paign NFPA pro­motes an­nu­ally with the U.S. Fire Ad­min­is­tra­tion. THE NA­TIONAL FIRE PRO­TEC­TION AS­SO­CI­A­TION (NFPA) FOUNDED IN 1896,

IS A GLOBAL SELF-FUNDED NON­PROFIT DE­VOTED TO ELIM­I­NAT­ING DEATH, IN­JURY, PROP­ERTY AND ECO­NOMIC LOSS DUE TO FIRE, ELEC­TRI­CAL AND RE­LATED HAZ­ARDS. THE AS­SO­CI­A­TION DE­LIV­ERS IN­FOR­MA­TION THROUGH MORE THAN 300 CON­SEN­SUS CODES AND STAN­DARDS, RE­SEARCH, TRAIN­ING, ED­U­CA­TION, OUTREACH AND AD­VO­CACY, AND BY PART­NER­ING WITH OTH­ERS WHO SHARE AN IN­TER­EST IN FUR­THER­ING THE NFPA MIS­SION. FOR MORE IN­FOR­MA­TION, VISIT WWW. NFPA.ORG. ALL NFPA CODES AND STAN­DARDS CAN BE VIEWED ON­LINE FOR FREE AT WWW. NFPA.ORG/FREEACCESS.

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