Fire-free, but festivePublished 7:24pm Wednesday, November 13, 2013
The holiday season approaches like Santa and his sleigh on a Christmas Eve deadline.
We’ve watched it happen for years, the gradual encroachment of Christmas on Thanksgiving. Sometimes its borne out of convenience (like Washington putting up Christmas wreaths and lights the day after Halloween), sometimes out of a desire to prolonging the biggest buying season of the year (like some store starting Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day), but regardless, the holiday comes early.
So that means soon, and that will probably be really soon, Christmas trees will be parked in lots across towns, leaning against grocery store storefront all across the county. Christmas trees are a wonderful tradition, but according to the U.S. Fire Administration, they sure do cause a lot of Christmas fires—at least 240 a year.
There are ways to prevent those fires, however.
The first step is to pick the right tree. You need a freshly cut tree, one that still has plenty of moisture. There are a couple of ways you can tell whether the tree that’s just the right height and the right price still has its moisture content: needles are green and should not break; the trunk should be sticky to touch and if you bounce the tree trunk on the ground, very few, if any, needles should fall off.
If all of the above is true, you might just have a good tree, so snatch it up. But once you get home, there’s more to do to make sure your tree doesn’t become a fire hazard. First, don’t put it close to a heat source. Vents and fireplaces can dry out your tree. Then remember to keep the tree stand filled with water at all times. And don’t leave your tree up too long, as pretty as it is.
That’s a good start in keeping your tree fire-free, but keep in mind that inspecting your Christmas lights, not overloading electrical circuits and never leaving holiday lights unattended are just as preventative.
Here’s to a fire-free, but festive, holiday season!