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Queens Chronicle

Christmas tree safety tips from the FDNY

Real, artificial trees require care

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Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2013 10:30 am

The New York City Fire Department is reminding residents that both real and artificial Christmas trees pose an increased risk of fire in the home, and is offering tips for tree safety this holiday season.

• When choosing an artificial tree, select one that is labeled as fire-retardant.

• For real trees, choose the freshest looking one available.

• Test for freshness by grasping a branch between your thumb and forefinger and gently pulling it toward you. Very few needles should come off.

• Shake or bounce a tree on its stump. If an excessive number of green needles fall to the ground, the tree may not be fresh.

• Buy your tree early. Most tree lots receive only one shipment, which do not become fresher sitting in a lot.

• If you don’t plan to put your tree up right away, cut a half inch off the bottom of the trunk and place the tree in a five-gallon bucket of warm water. Store the tree in cool temperatures, but above freezing.

• If a tree has been stored for more than three days, cut an additional one inch off the bottom. Immediately place it in a stand that holds at least half a gallon of water.

• Keep the water level above the cut and check the water level daily, as a fresh tree may initially soak up as much as a gallon of water per day.

• No water additives, such as aspirin, sugar or commercial fire retardant are necessary. Plain tap water is considered best.

• Place a tree at least three feet from heating system air registers, fireplaces and other heat sources.

• Try to position a tree near an electrical outlet to minimize use of extension cords.

• Make sure a tree has adequate support with a sturdy stand designed not to tip over.

• Do not use electric lights on metallic trees. Use remote spot or reflective lights.

• Do not use lighted candles or any other flaming devices either on or near trees.

• Whenever possible use ornaments and decorations made with flame-resistant, flame-retardant or noncombustible materials.

• Unplug tree lights when out of the room and before going to sleep.

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