Christmas tree fires are among the most lethal because of how fast they burn, as a warning video posted by the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management shows. Proper precautions will prevent them.
The tree on the left hasn't been watered regularly. The tree on the right has.
"Don’t forget to check the water level and unplug the lights every night before you go to bed," state OEM officials said.
Tips from the National Fire Protection Association:
• Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched;
• Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2" 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;
• 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 (read the manufacturer's instructions for number of light strands to connect);
• NEVER use lighted candles to decorate the tree;
• ALWAYS turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
Be sure to properly dispose of the tree as quickly after Christmas as possible. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage or placed outside against the house.
Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.