Make sure to practice Christmas tree safety - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Make sure to practice Christmas tree safety

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

This past weekend millions of Americans put up their Christmas lights.

But while they can add some holiday décor an estimated 400 house fires in the U.S. are blamed each year on electrical decorations.

It's a Christmas tradition celebrated by families everywhere picking out the perfect tree.

But Christmas trees can also pose a real danger.

"We generally see one or two a season we see nationally 250 home fires every year caused by a Christmas tree," said Asst. Chief Allen Cravey, Albany Fire Department.

But there are some simple steps you can take to make sure your Christmas stays safe and fire free.

 It all starts with selecting a healthy tree.

"You grab the tree, pull on it and see how many needles come off with it and if no needles come out then that tree is in good shape," said Glenn Eames, Owner of Eames Christmas Trees.

If it's dry, you'll pull off a handful of needles.

"The needles should not break easily, they can take the needle and it should bend not break," said Eames.

Before you load it on the car, make sure they cut a few inches off the trunk. 

"Once it seals itself, it won't take any more water up. So you've got to cut it at least half an inch so it will take water up," said Eames.

When you get it home, add lots of water.

"Some trees can absorb gallon and a half gallons of water a day," said Eames.

Even though it may be a hassle, adding water daily is the key to a keeping your tree safe.

"You got presents under the tree it's decorated now you have to crawl on the floor and make a mess," said Eames.

This year Glenn Eames, owner of Eames Christmas Trees sold out of a product he got to encourage water use.

"All you do is set it into your tree and Velcro it into your tree out of sight, check and see how much water and put it back. You are through," said Eames.

Before you string on the lights, make sure they are UL rated and make sure your cords aren't frayed or broken.

"At the most try not to put three strands of lights on an extension cord," said Eames.

And if you plan to leave the house or go to bed turn everything off.

"The longer they are on, the hotter they are going to get and more likely they will cause a problem," said Eames.

And never put your tree near any heat source.

Another tip, never hang Christmas lights on metal trees. A metal tree can become charged with electricity which can electrocute anyone who touches the tree.

It can also make your lights short out which could cause a fire.

Copyright 2012 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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