December 16, 2008


Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Lt. Jim Neylon keeps a watchful eye on a Christmas tree after lighting it during a safety demonstration at the Broward Fire Academy Monday morning. The Broward Sheriff Fire Marshal’s Bureau and the Florida State Fire Marshal conducted the demonstration to show how quickly an under-watered tree can ignite. Additionally, homemade holiday decorations can be a fire hazard. Consumers should keep the trees watered, use approved lights and decorations and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. “You should avoid overloading outlets, as this is a common cause of fires, especially during the holiday season,” said Broward Sheriff Fire Marshal and Dep. Chief Charles Raiken. He added, “Christmas week is the peak time for tree fires, so we want to remind folks to make safety a priority.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one out of every 22 Christmas tree fires in the home resulted in death. Some additional tips for maintaining a fire-safe tree are: always unplug tree lights before leaving home or going to bed, never use lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections, never use lit candles as tree decorations or place them near trees, water trees daily and if you have an artificial tree, make sure it is fire-retardant. Safely dispose of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in the house or garage, or placed against the house. Lastly, always watch children when they are around the tree, and keep pets away from the tree.

Photo by Mike Jachles/Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue

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