Holiday season

Keep your Christmas tree and home safe from fires this holiday season

OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) – When decorating your home for the holidays, the Ouachita Parish Fire Department reminds people to be careful.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly a third of household Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical issues.

When choosing a tree, choose one with fresh, green needles that don’t fall off when touched. Add water to the tree stand daily to keep it from drying out. Make sure your tree isn’t blocking an exit and always know two ways out of a room.

The NFPA says that although Christmas tree fires are not common, they are likely to be serious when they do occur. It’s essential to keep trees at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, heaters, candles and more.

“One of the most important things to keep in mind about space heaters is to maintain a three-foot circumference around that space heater that is free of any combustibles. Never use a space heater on an extension cord. Your heater should be connected directly to the wall,” said OPFD Fire Prevention Chief Dusty Harris.

Harris says that when a tree catches fire, it burns quickly and can grow quickly.

The NFPA says that a heat source too close to the tree causes more than one in five fires.

When lighting your tree, check to see if the lights are for indoor or outdoor use only. Select lamps listed by a qualified testing laboratory.

Choose fireproof or flame resistant decorations. Always turn off Christmas lights and decorations before leaving the house or going to bed.

“Check your lights. Check your decorations. Check your extension cords. If you see frayed spots, anything like that, then throw out those decorations and lights and replace them with new ones,” Harris said.

Dispose of your tree after Christmas or when it is dry. Officials say it shouldn’t be left in your home, garage, or placed outside against the house. It is recommended that you find a local recycling program in your community.

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