by Abigayle Taylor
‘Tis the season for decorating. This year, when you are rocking around the Christmas tree, remember to be fire smart. Below are a few best practices for using real trees as outlined by the National Fire Prevention Association.
When picking out the perfect tree, you want to shop fresh. When fresh, a tree’s needles will be healthy, green and will not fall off when touched. Before setting your tree in the stand, make sure you cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk. Once it is placed, add water and continue to do so daily to prevent the tree from drying out.
The association states that one-quarter of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems. When decorating your tree, use lights with CSA or UL certifications on the cord. Both certifications are accredited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to reduce electrical and fire risks. It is also important to replace lights that seem to be worn, such as having broken cords and loose bulbs.
“While Christmas tree fires are rare, they are likely to be very serious when they do happen,” said Becky Spain, Mercy injury prevention specialist. “That is why Safe Kids wants to ensure families are practicing fire safety this holiday season.”
Dried-out trees that get left in your home or garage become a fire hazard. When Christmas ends, be on the lookout for local tree recycling options. In Springfield, you can dispose of your old tree while donating to a good cause. For $5, Wickman’s Garden Village will take your tree and donate the money to Great Circle. For $2, you can drop off used trees at Bass Pro Shops, where local Boy Scouts will take them to the Department of Conservation to be used as wildlife habitats. Otherwise, check with local tree farms or recycling centers to see if they have convenient drop off programs.