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Tips for Christmas tree fire safety

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By JASON LONG, Chief
Milton Fire & Rescue

Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season.

Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire.  Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles and the ever-popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy.

*Don’t put your live Christmas tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks.

*Place trees away from heat sources, including fireplaces or heat vents. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks.

*Keep the live tree stand filled with water at all times.

*Use only nonflammable decorations.

*Don’t link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it’s safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.

*Avoid using lit candles; consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles

*Ensure that Christmas trees and other holiday decorations don’t block an exit way.

For more tips on how to prevent a holiday fire and what to do in case a fire starts in your home, visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s website at www.usfa.fema.gov