Keep your Christmas tree safeClark Griswold saw his natural Christmas tree go up in flames in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” and now is a good time to make sure the same doesn’t happen in your home.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Clark Griswold saw his natural Christmas tree go up in flames in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” and now is a good time to make sure the same doesn’t happen in your home.
Most natural Christmas trees have been displayed for a while and some might be drying up.
Each Christmas, 250 fires occur nationwide because of in-house Christmas trees, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Each year, $13.8 million in damage is caused from Christmas tree fires.
Those 250 fires also cause 26 injuries and 14 deaths every year.
“We haven’t seen the problem yet, but it can be a problem if people aren’t watering them and maintaining them,” said Jim Reuther, Jamestown fire chief.
Water for the trees needed to be checked every day, and using laboratory-tested lights also helps prevent fires, Reuther said.
Tree lights should have be checked to make sure they are approved by Underwriters Laboratories, or UL. Lights should also not be used if they are frayed.
“One of the things we recommend is to put them (the lights) on a surge protector and not use extension cords if possible,” Reuther said.
Vern Quam, Jamestown city forester, said he has five tips to maintain Christmas trees.
* the tree stump should have a new cut one inch above the original cut to help soak up water.
* it should be stored in a cool shady place.
* some tree spray chemicals on the tree, which looks like a blue or green residue, to help prevent tree fires.
* the stump should be submerged in water at all times.
* the tree should be kept away from fireplaces, heaters, televisions, air vents, radiators or other heat sources.
The tree lights should be turned off when no one is in the room and open flames should be kept away from the tree.
“It’s really a living thing,” Quam said. “If you stop watering it, it dies.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at email@example.com