Truckee Meadows Fire offers Christmas decor safety tips

A Christmas tree and presents, Photo Date: 12/20/2015 / Photo: Pixabay / (MGN)
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District is urging fire safety for the Christmas season.

“We want our residents and families to enjoy this time of the year,” says Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD) Fire Chief Charles Moore. “We encourage everyone to do their part, and take the necessary precautions so that we can all have a safe Holiday season throughout Washoe County.”

Christmas Tree Safety:
Christmas trees can become a big hazard. Though they are not common, when they do occur, they are likely to be very serious. Dry trees can ignite up very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every four of tree fires, and one of every three tree fires is caused by electrical problems.

• Always choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. Before placing the tree in the stand, cut at least 2” from the base of the trunk. Put the freshly cut trunk in water within 2 hours to keep it from sealing over.
• Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
• Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
• Most importantly, add water to the tree stand, and be sure to add water daily. This is the best way to avoid a serious tree fire.
• Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
• Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home, or going to bed.
• Get rid of the Christmas tree after the Holidays, or when it is dry. A dried out tree is a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside the home.
Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful offers an annual Christmas Tree Recycling program.
Watch this short TMFPD video on Christmas Tree Safety.

Holiday Decoration Safety:

Be careful with holiday decorations. According to the NFPA, more than a third of home decoration fires are started by candles, and more than 40 percent of decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.

• Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
• Keep lit candles away for decorations and other things that burn.
• Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
• Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
• Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
• Keep decorations away from windows and doors.