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Polk Fire: Christmas tree fires more serious than average home fires | Families

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Polk Fire: Christmas tree fires more serious than average home fires
Families, News
Polk Fire: Christmas tree fires more serious than average home fires

Polk Co., FL-- Even though the threat of Thanksgiving cooking fires has past, Polk County Fire wants to make sure you know you aren't in the clear just yet!

They say with holiday decorations like festive lighting, windowsill candles and ornamented Christmas trees, fires could very well start, and would likely be more serious than average home fires if so.

Need some numbers to back that up? According to Polk County Fire, one of every 18 reported home Christmas tree fires between 2005 and 2009 resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 141 total home fires.

In order to ensure safety this holiday season for you and your families, follow Polk Fire's "Safe Holiday Decorating" tips:

  • Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Check the packaging; some lights are only for indoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of minilight sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors.

For proper Christmas tree safety: 

  • Keep your tree well watered.  A dry tree can be extremely dangerous. See how flammable a dry Christmas tree can be in comparison to a well-watered tree in a demonstration by the non-profit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). You can view it here: http://youtu.be/RNjO3wZDVlA.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of ministring 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.
  • Get rid of the tree when it is dry. Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

For more information on cooking safety, including turkey fryer safety tips, visit 

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