Chief’s Corner: The importance of holiday tree safety
EDITOR’S NOTE: “Chief’s Corner” is a regular feature in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza from North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief Mike Brown, offering information, tips and education material on fire safety, emergency preparedness and other pertinent topics.
As you deck the halls this holiday season, be fire smart. A small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can grow large very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, one of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every six of the fires.
Consider these tips before selecting and decorating your Christmas tree:
SELECTING, PLACING THE TREE
• Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
• Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk.
• Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
• Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
• Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
LIGHTING THE TREE
• Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
• Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
• Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
• Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
After holiday celebrations and the tree is dry, recycle your tree. Incline Village/Crystal Bay residents may drop off their Christmas tree anytime between Dec. 23, 2013, and Jan. 31, 2014, at Preston Field, 700 Tahoe Blvd. located off Highway 28 near Highway 431 in Incline Village.
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The next few days will bring strong winds to Truckee, though they’ll be gone by the weekend, the National Weather Service said.