Tree shopping? Refresher on safety tips

If you’ve moved here from somewhere else, know this: the arid, desert environment can cause a live, fresh-cut evergreen tree to dry out fairly quickly.

Watch Tracey Fejt, R.N., of Cardon Children’s Medical Center, share six tips for safe, happy holidays in Arizona.

The National Christmas Tree Association notes that the best way to keep a fresh tree as fresh as possible over the holidays remains the reservoir-type stand filled with fresh water.

More tips on how to water your tree.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 250 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 170 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year.

Together, these fires resulted in 21 deaths and 43 injuries last year nationwide.

The City of Maricopa Fire Department offers the following additional safety tips for families around the Valley to help make sure homes are protected from potential fire hazards this holiday season:

Christmas Trees – Live

• Always pick a fresh tree. Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches. Needles should not break if the tree has been freshly cut.

• Never put the tree near a heat source like a fireplace, space heater or decorative candles.

• Make sure the tree stays hydrated, WATER, WATER, WATER!

Christmas Trees – Artificial

• Make sure the tree is flame retardant.

Holiday Lights

• Inspect lights every year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear.

• Do not overload electrical outlets. Never link more than three strands unless directions indicate it is safe to do so.

• Periodically check to make sure the wires are not warm to the touch. If they are, unplug them immediately.

Holiday Decorations

• Use only non-flammable decorations and place all items away from heat sources.

• Do not block exits with decorations.

• Do not burn wrapping paper or packaging. All items should be disposed of

properly and recycled whenever possible.

Candle Safety

• Avoid using lighted candles when possible. When using candles, make sure the stand or holder is stable. Keep plenty of space around a candle- never put a candle near flammable objects. Never leave candles unattended.

• Never put a candle on or near a tree.

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