Christmas trees, holiday lights, flickering candles: It all makes for a festive time of year, but the season's trimmings offer unique challenges.
Lieutenant Anthony Mancuso, director of fire safety education for the New York City Fire Department, shares tips for a safe, happy holiday season.
Christmas Tree Tips
- Choose the freshest possible tree. To test freshness, gently grasp a branch between your thumb and forefinger, and pull it toward you. Very few needles should fall off.
- Keep your tree watered. Fresh trees may require up to a gallon of water per day. Ensure that your tree stays hydrated by checking the water daily and keeping its level above the cut mark.
- Display the tree in a safe spot. Place it at least three feet away from heating vents, fireplaces, and other heat sources.
- Carefully inspect Christmas lights. Avoid broken lights and cracked or frayed wires. Damaged electrical cords are the cause of most home electrical fires.
- Minimize extension cords. Positioning a tree near an electrical outlet reduces the need for extra cords.
- Choose candle locations carefully. Place candles at least four feet away from curtains, decorations, and bedding. And keep them out of reach of small children and pets.
- Extinguish when necessary. Be sure to blow out candles once they burn to within two inches of the holder, and never leave a burning candle unattended.
- Consider battery-operated candles. Flame-free candles make for a worry-free alternative to traditional candles.