Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is reminding Floridians to take steps to prevent a fire during the holidays. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an annual average of 200 home structure fires start with a Christmas tree resulting in an average of six deaths, 16 injuries and nearly $15 million in damages. In addition, 58 percent of Christmas tree fires occur in January and February when a tree is often neglected and becomes dry.
“In the midst of our holiday traditions, we tend to forget the dangers that a dry and improperly placed Christmas tree can pose to the safety of our families and neighbors,” said CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis. “It only takes a matter of seconds for a dry Christmas tree and its surrounding furnishings to catch fire. Keep your trees watered, placed in a safe area and have them immediately removed from the home following your holiday festivities.”
Be sure to remember these top five fire safety tips to help prevent a Christmas tree fire from ruining your holiday:
1. Make sure your tree is healthy. Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
2. Keep the tree away from sources of heat within the home. Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any fireplaces, radiators, candles or heat sources.
3. Keep your tree hydrated. After your tree is up, add water to the tree stand and be sure to add water daily.
4. Decorate the tree with the proper lighting. Never use lit candles to decorate the tree and inspect your lights and accessories to make sure there aren’t any broken bulbs or damaged wiring.
5. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t exceed the recommended number of light strands that can be connected to one another and make sure you are using indoor and outdoor lights when appropriate.