Christmas trees start 160 fires yearly, this is what you need to know to stay safe

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Decorating for the holidays is always a fun activity for the whole family but, there are some fire safety tips to be aware of as you deck the halls this season. According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 160 home fires are started by Christmas trees every year.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has released tips for avoiding winter holiday fires this year. FEMA says that while holiday decorations are fun, decorations can increase your risk of a home fire.

According to FEMA, more than half of the home decoration fires in the month of December are started by candles and more than 1/3 of home decoration fires are started by candles overall.

The top three days for candle fires started in homes are on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. To keep candles from starting any sort of fire in your home, keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

To eliminate any risk from candles, FEMA suggests trying out battery-operated flameless candles which often can look, smell, and feel like real candles. If you do use lit candles though, make sure they are in stable holders and are in places where they can’t be knocked down easily.

Christmas trees–real and fake–are known to cause many house fires as well. According to FEMA, one of every 52 reported home Christmas tree fires results in death.

So, how can you avoid a Christmas tree fire in your own home? Avoid having heat sources next to your tree. A heat source too close to the Christmas tree causes one in every four winter fires. Make sure that whatever type of Christmas tree you have, that it is at least three feet away from things such as fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles, or heat vents.

If you are planning on personally lighting your Christmas tree, make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions for the maximum number of light strands to connect together. Having too many light strands connected together can be a fire hazard.

Before you put lights on your tree, inspect light strands and throw away any strands that have frayed or pinched wires.

Real Christmas trees can become dry quickly and create an even greater fire hazard. To eliminate any risk, dispose of your Christmas tree soon after Christmas or whenever it is dry. In order to keep your Christmas tree healthy as long as possible, make sure to water it every day.

To find more tips and tricks on how to fireproof your home this holiday season you can visit https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/holiday.html.

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