- When buying a live tree, look at the needles. If they are brown or break easily, choose another tree. Test for freshness by bending a few needles in half. If the needles snap in two, the tree is dry - look for a tree with needles that spring back to their original shape.
- When you take your tree home, put it in a sturdy, non-tip stand filled with water.
- Give the tree plenty of water. Dry trees can catch on fire easily.
- Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any flame or heat source.
- Never put candles on or near your tree.
- Put your tree near the electrical outlet. Do not block the exit.
- Before you put the lights on the tree, look at every bulb. If the string of lights does not look perfect, throw the lights away and get new ones.
- Lights do not last long. Replace your lights as soon as you see any signs of damage.
- Look on the box for a mark that says ETL, UL or CSA. This means the lights have been tested for safety.
- Read the directions. Only use as many strings of lights as it says is safe to use.
- When decorating indoors, use only those lights listed for indoor use. Unplug all lights, inside and out, before going to bed or leaving home.
- Safely get rid of your tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are flammable. They should not be left inside the home or garage, or placed against the house.
- Make sure your home has working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
- Make sure your family knows what to do to get outside safely in a fire. Practice a family fire drill so your family and guests know the plan.
When finding and caring for your Christmas tree this holiday season, just remember the word "STAR":
Space: Keep your tree at least three feet away from any heat source or flames such as candles and fireplaces.