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Christmas Tree Safety Tips

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By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Now that the Thanksgiving Day dinner has been enjoyed, many people are thinking about the next holiday, Christmas and one of the first purchases is often a Christmas tree.

Twenty-eight million people bought real trees last year compared to 11 million artificial ones. 

Firefighters say if you buy a real Christmas tree, you must be aware you're bringing a fire hazard into your home.

People, who love real Christmas trees, love them in part because of the way they make their house smell.

But Tulsa firefighters say if you don't care for your tree properly, your house is going to smell like smoke and fire.

One tiny spark can start a large fire with a dry live tree.  It only takes a few seconds before the entire tree is a ball of fire. 

U.S. Fire Administration

That means all your presents under the tree are destroyed and then the furniture that's nearby adds even more fuel to the raging fire. 

"Water them, water them, water them. Keep them watered. Tests have been shown to prove you can hold a matchbook to a very wet, well watered tree and it will not ignite the branches," said Tulsa Fire District Chief Bill French. 

A dry Christmas tree goes up in flames and within 30 or 40 seconds, everything in the room is destroyed.  A family would barely have time to escape. 

Firefighters say never use the big C-9 outdoor Christmas lights on a live Christmas tree because they can be a fire hazard. 

Also, be careful with your extension cords. 

"People tend to use a lot of extension cords. If you sit the base of the Christmas tree stand on an extension cord, lot of resistance and heat can build up, another possible source of heat that could burn that tree," said Bill French. 

Artificial trees may not have the same charm or smell but are made to be fire and flame resistant so this is much less likely. 

If you're not sure whether your tree is to dry, firefighters suggest you break off a small branch, take it somewhere safe, like a kitchen sink and set it on fire. If it burns all on its own, it's time to throw the Christmas tree out.



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