JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is encouraging everyone to remove Christmas trees from their homes promptly after the holiday season.
According to NFPA, nearly one-third of U.S. home fires that begin with Christmas trees happen in January.
NFPA says Christmas tree fires are not common, but when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On an annual average, one of every 52 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to one death per 135 total reported home structure fires.
“Christmas trees are combustible items that become increasingly flammable as they continue to dry out. The longer you keep one in your home, the more of a fire hazard it becomes,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.
“All Christmas trees can burn, but a dried-out tree can become engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds. In recent years, we’ve seen tragic incidents where Christmas tree fires have resulted in deadly consequences for multiple family members, including young children.”
The National Fire Prevention Association recommends using the local community’s recycling program for tree disposal if possible.
Below are tips on how to safely remove lights and decorations from NFPA:
- 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.