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Tree safety: Safety tips issued by fire department | Preston Citizen

Tree safety: Safety tips issued by fire department

December 6, 2013
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By ROBERT S. MERRILL 

Assistant editor

Christmas is three weeks away and decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season. Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase chances of fire.

Franklin County Fire District Fire Marshal Scott Martin said following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles and Christmas trees from creating a tragedy. He issued the following suggestions:

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• Don’t put a “live” Christmas tree up too early or leave it up for longer than four weeks. Make sure a fresh cut is made at the base of the tree before placing in a stand that has plenty of water. Keep checking the stand every day and add water as needed.

• Place trees away from heat sources, including fireplaces or heat vents. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks.

• Use only non-flammable decorations.

• Don’t link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it’s safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.

• Avoid using real candles. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.

• Ensure that Christmas trees and other holiday decorations don’t block an exit way.

• Place a fire extinguisher near the tree for additional safety.

Martin said Christmas trees cause about 500 fires annually across the country and the resulting damage costs $20 million per year.

This story is sponsored by The Preston Citizen.

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