Toss your tree soon

Published 10:34 pm Friday, December 28, 2018

If you’re among those who like to leave your Christmas decorations up as long as possible, and you’re also among those with a real Christmas tree, allow us to beg you to reconsider on the first point.

For some reason — perhaps because dried-out trees are particularly flammable — fires that start with Christmas trees are particularly deadly. The National Fire Protection Association says that, on average, one in every 45 home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared with an average of one death per 139 total home fires.

In almost half of Christmas tree fires, electrical distribution or lighting equipment was to blame. In about a quarter, some type of heat source, such as a candle, was too close to the tree.

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Re-cutting the tree right before placing it into the stand, and watering it daily, can drastically reduce the severity of a Christmas tree fire, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

But still, the longer a Christmas tree is in your home, the drier it gets. Prolonging the Christmas spirit by leaving the tree up just isn’t worth it. You can keep the days merry and bright with your house still standing.

While we’re on the topic of fire safety, simply throwing out a tree doesn’t necessarily mean your home is fireproof. We’re entering the bitterly cold months of January and February, and home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season.

Why, you ask? Heating is the second leading cause (after cooking) of U.S. home fires, deaths and injuries. Space heaters cause the most heating fires due to being placed too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses, bedding or paper.

Solid-fueled heating equipment like fireplaces and chimneys also start a lot of winter fires, according to the NFPA, so if you use your fireplace, ensure your chimney is cleaned regularly.

We hope this winter will be a safe one for all of Suffolk’s residents and firefighters.