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Keep your home fire safe during holiday season

By Anusha Roy, KXLY4 Reporter, anushar@kxly.com
Published On: Dec 13 2012 06:13:40 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 13 2012 07:42:26 PM CST
christmas tree

©iStockphoto.com/(Liliboas)

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be easy to forget one important thing: watering your Christmas tree. That mistake can be potentially deadly.

The U.S. Fire Academy has dramatic video that shows just how quickly a dry tree can go up in flames. In eight second half the tree was engulfed in flames. By 38 seconds it was completely gone.

Now imagine that happening in your home. If you place it in the corner, like many families do, that means the fire could spread to the walls and ceiling.

The biggest mistake people make is not watering their tree everyday. Depending on the size, a tree can suck up to a gallon of water a day.

The source of ignition can really be anything, including old lights you string around your tree that you didn't check before turning them on.

"As you put them on your tree they may be frayed, cracked as the energy is running through, especially on a live tree, and it doesn't have as much moisture content, there is your ignition source," said Bobby Gonder with the Coeur d'Alene Fire Department.

That's why firefighters recommend using LED lights that use low energy.

If you have an artificial tree, it's not fool proof. Just last week, firefighters responded to a fire involving a new fire resistant artificial tree. The tree itself was just a burnt remain and damaged the area surrounding it.

Here are some more tips:

  • Keep candles away from combustibles and don't leave them burning in an empty room. On average candles are responsible for 42 house fires a day.
  • Fire departments recommend using flameless candles. You still get the look and the scent but no open flame. We found one for about eight dollars from Fred Meyer.
  • Check your lights for any fraying, exposed wires and cracked sockets before putting them up.
  • Make sure you have working smoke detectors and look into a carbon monoxide detector as well.
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