Parma firefighters demonstrate Christmas tree dangers

PARMA, Ohio-- The Parma Fire Department took time on Tuesday to talk about Christmas tree safety.

"A dry tree will go up in seconds," said T.J. Martin, Parma fire spokesman. Those flames can quickly spread to other items like curtains and furniture.

A dry tree that's not out in windy conditions will catch fire a lot easier than the recently-cut one used outside on Tuesday, Martin said. For the demonstration, the Christmas tree mostly smoked and smoldered. That emphasized how important it is to water a decorated tree.

Martin said the first line of defense is having working smoke detectors on each level of the home.

The National Fire Protection Association reports more than 200 home fires every year start with a Christmas tree.

The NFPA provides the following tips to keep you safe:

  • When you pick the tree, choose one with fresh, green needles that don’t fall off when touched.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2″ from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights; also, make sure it’s not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand; be sure to add water daily.
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Get rid of the tree after Christmas. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.