(WTAJ) — The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) strongly encourages that residents throw out their Christmas trees as soon as possible, citing that nearly one-third of Christmas tree fires happen in January.
“As much as we all enjoy the look and feel of Christmas trees in our homes, they’re large combustible items that have the potential to result in serious fires,” Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy, said. “The longer Christmas trees remain in homes, the longer they present a risk.”
Fresh Christmas trees, which continue to dry out and become more flammable over time, are involved in a much larger share of reported Christmas tree fires than artificial trees, Carli added.
Around 160 home structure fires began with Christmas trees, resulting in two deaths, 12 injuries and $10 million in direct property damage on average each year between 2015 and 2019, according to the latest NFPAS winter holiday fire data.
How to safely dispose Christmas trees
To safely dispose of Christmas trees while keeping your decorations intact, NFPA recommends following these tips:
- Use the gripping area on the plug when unplugging electrical decorations. Never pull the cord to unplug any device from an electrical outlet, as this can harm the wire and insulation of the cord, increasing the risk for shock or electrical fire.
- As you pack up light strings, inspect each line for damage, throwing out any sets that have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires.
- Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags or wrap them around a piece of cardboard.
- Store electrical decorations in a dry place away from children and pets where they will not be damaged by water or dampness.
They also recommend using the local community’s recycling program if possible. Trees should not be put in the garage or left outside.
For more information on home fire safety all winter long, visit a winter safety campaign NFPA promotes annually with the U.S. Fire Administration.
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