It's hard not to get into the holiday spirit when you bring out the ornaments and decorate your tree. Keep in mind however that both real and artificial trees can pose a hazard in your home if they are not properly cared for. Here are a few tips and reminders on how to keep your tree and your family safe.
• If you are using a natural tree, choose a tree with green, fresh needles that do not fall off when you touch the tree.
• Make a fresh cut across the tree's base before setting it in the stand and immediately place it in water. Keep the tree's water container full at all times, checking the water level daily.
• Place the Christmas tree well away from the heat registers, space heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves, candles, televisions, computer monitors and other heat sources.
• Check all Christmas tree lights, other electric decorations and electrical appliances for wear (frayed cords, for example). Replace lights with frayed cords.
• Use only UL-approved electrical decorations and extension cords. Remember some lights are rated for indoor use or outdoor use only, so use the appropriate lights.
• Consider LED lights to help extend the life of your tree, real or artificial, and to save on electric costs.
• Unplug tree lights and decorations when out of the room or sleeping.
• Never use candles to decorate a tree.
• Place the Christmas tree clear of doors to keep the emergency escape route clear of trees, packages, and furniture.
• Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when the tree is dry. Remember dried-out trees are a fire danger; dry trees can burn faster than newspapers.
• Dispose of the tree properly, and do not leave the tree in your home, in your garage, or leaning against your house.
• See if your community offers a tree recycling program.
• Consider taking the outside decorations down and storing them properly to reduce the fire hazard and extend the decoration's life.