City services suggest tips for safe Christmas tree maintenance

Natural Christmas tree afficionados love the authenticity and unique aroma they provide during the holiday season. It is important, however, to follow a few suggestions to ensure your home is safe from fire hazard.

Whether your family uses a natural or artificial Christmas tree, there are several items to keep in mind to ensure your Holiday Season is incident free.

However, it is particularly important to pay attention to the care and maintenance of the real-life version of the traditional household ornamentation.

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Brandon Fire and Emergency Services has released several fire prevention tips for area residents who use live Christmas trees in their homes. Although a long-standing Holiday tradition for many families, real trees pose a higher risk of fire, leading the local emergency services department to make a few valuable suggestions.

Firstly, choose a fresh Christmas tree. Trees that are shedding their needles or have branches that break easily when slightly bent are not preferable. A dry tree can create a fire hazard.

Whenever possible, families should cut their own trees to ensure it is fresh and remains so longer into the season. Also, when transporting the tree home, it is important to protect it from damage. Broken branches and scarred bark can affect the tree’s longevity.

The tree should be kept outside until you are ready to decorate it, but in a heated room with the trunk in water if possible. Cut about two to three inches off the bottom of the trunk so the tree will absorb water effectively. The tree should be held in a sturdy stand with wide legs and a container to hold water. The tree trunk should remain in water the entire time it remains in the home.

As far as location, the tree should be placed away from heat sources such as radiators, fireplaces, heating vents and lights alongside exits to the home. Heat and light can cause the tree to dry out.

All Christmas lights on the tree, in the house and outside should be unplugged before you leave the house for a long period of time or before going to bed.

– With notes from City of Brandon Fire and Emergency Services

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