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Don’t Leave Your Christmas Tree Up Too Long, Says Fire Organization

Forty percent of home fires started on a Christmas tree occur in January.

Credit: Jenni Pompi/ Patch
Credit: Jenni Pompi/ Patch
Written by Les Masterson

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is suggesting that you don’t wait too long to take down your Christmas tree.

NFPA said 40% of home fires that start on a Christmas tree occur in January.  

“The longer they are in the home, the more dangerous they become. The continued use of seasonal lighting and dried-out trees can pose significant fire hazards in and outside the home,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA. “Proper disposal of the tree from your home will minimize the risk and will keep the holiday a joyful one.”

Christmas tree fires are not common, but NFPA said those types of fires are more fatal than others.

NFPA said one of every 40 reported home fires started on a Christmas tree resulted in death compared to one death per 142 on all home fires.

NFPA gives these tips:

When it’s time to dispose of the tree, check with your local community to find a recycling program. 

Do not leave them in the home, garage, or placed outside. 

For unplugging the electric decorations, use the gripping area provided on the plugs. Never pull the cord to unplug a device from electrical outlets. Doing so can harm the cord’s wire and insulation, which can lead to an electrical fire or shock. 

To reduce the risk of holiday tree and light fires and to keep decorations in good condition for next year, you should also follow these suggestions:

  • As you’re putting away electrical light strings, take time to inspect each for damage. Throw out light sets if they have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires.
  • Do not place a damaged set of lights back into the storage box for next year’s use.
  • Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags, or wrap the lights around a piece of cardboard.
  • Store electrical decorations in a dry place where they cannot be damaged by water or dampness. Also, keep them away from children and pets.


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