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Christmas Tree Safety

A U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission video shows the dangers of not properly maintaining your Christmas tree. In a side-by-side comparison between a “watered tree” and a “dry tree,” the dry tree bursts into flames within 10 seconds. Even with a 30-second head start, the watered tree still was only smoldering nearly a minute after the dry tree was fully ablaze. The CPSC says that from 2013 to 2015 there were about 100 Christmas tree fires a year in the United States, resulting in an average of 10 deaths, 10 injuries, and $12 million in property loss. Keeping Christmas trees fresh and not prickly is the key, according to the CPSC. Regular watering is the best thing to do to prevent fires.

The bottom line: Decorating for the holidays can be a lot of fun, but it can be dangerous too. Between stringing up lights and potential fires caused by candles and Christmas trees, you have to be careful.

The CPSC said emergency rooms tended to 18,400 injuries associated with holiday decorating from November 2016 through January 2017. “There are about 200 decorating-related injuries each day during the busy holiday season,” said Ann Marie Buerkle, the acting chair of the CPSC. “Make safety a part of your family’s holiday decorating this year. Keep your Christmas tree watered, check holiday lights before you put them on the tree and use extra caution with candles.” Falls were most common (38 percent), followed by strains and sprains (18 percent) and cuts (14 percent). Two people died falling off ladders.

And one more thing: “To stay fire safe all year, consumers should ensure they regularly test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their homes.” said Walter Copan, the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The alarms buy extra time in case of a fire.

Bonnie Williams