Firefighters warn of Christmas tree dangers. Here’s how to stay safe

Orange County Fire Rescue offers holiday safety tips

WINTER PARK, Fla. – Orange County firefighters on Friday demonstrated the potential dangers of Christmas trees while providing safety tips on how to prevent home fires.

Orange County Fire Rescue said many Christmas trees become dried-out, making them a hazard.

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According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 180 Christmas tree fires in homes across the U.S. last year.

The NFPA recommends that trees be watered every day and stand at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, candles, heat vents or lights.

“Christmas trees can dry very quickly if you don’t water them, so put it in a stand that has water. Make sure it keeps water in it every day,” Orange County Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Marshal William Farhat said. “You need to make sure that you are checking the tree. If the needles become brittle and the needles fall off, you should stop using lights in those trees, because it becomes very dangerous.

Farhat said if needles snap very easily when bent, they’re too dry.

When decorating your Christmas tree, officials said you should only use lights approved by a recognized testing laboratory. Strings of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections should be replaced.

“You also don’t want to put things on the bottom of a tree, like ornaments, where an animal or young child could pull the tree over into an unintended object,” Farhat said.

Fire officials said you should turn off the lights on your tree whenever you leave the house or go to bed.

“Christmas tree fires are present in the community. It’s not an everyday event, but they are preventable,” Farhat said. “If we can prevent the fire, let’s do so and by giving some simple tips, we can keep everyone safe.”

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Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.