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How to prevent your Christmas tree from catching fire

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Posted at 11:12 PM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 23:12:09-05

NAPLES, Fla. -- A lot of people love buying a real Christmas tree for the holiday but they can be dangerous if you’re not careful.

The North Collier Fire Department showed Fox 4 how quickly a tree can catch fire and shared some valuable safety tips you need to know this holiday season.

The department said it only takes 7 to 10 seconds for a dry Christmas tree to go up in flames.
Every year in the United States, there are about 160 Christmas tree fires and some have been deadly.

“Messages like this and being able to get out into the public is how we avoid having one of those fatalities here in this area,” said the fire department's P.I.O. Heather Mazurkiew.

To prevent danger to your family and home, Mazurkiew shared some safety tips.

“When you buy that live tree, you want to make sure they do a fresh cut before you even bring it home,” said Mazurkiew.

She said make sure the tree you’re buying is already hydrated.

“The needles will come off quite easily on a tree that’s not hydrated very well, which means it’s drying out and that’s a safety concern for you and your family,” said Mazurkiew.

The fresh cut also needs to be at least an inch at the bottom so water can be adsorbed well.

“It has to be watered every single day. We recommend you can have Christmas tree stand that carries at least a gallon of water,” said Mazurkiew.

Mazurkiew said keep candles away from anything flammable. She even suggested some alternatives.

“There are non-flaming products and so many are available,” said Mazurkiew.

Also, inspect all your Christmas lights carefully and turn them off when you go to bed.

“Make sure there aren’t any broken bulbs and make sure you look at the entire cord. Look for frays or exposed wires,” said Mazurkiew.

She highly recommends purchasing lights that they are UL certified, which means it’s a safe product.

The fire department said it only takes upwards of a minute for a hydrated Christmas tree to catch fire.
If that happens to you, get your family out of the house and immediately call 911.