(WTVF) — A Christmas tree and all of its lights can bring such joy, but it can also cause fires and send you to the emergency room.
In just a matter of seconds, a Christmas tree can burn, and those flames can spread quickly through your house. A burning candle, if left alone, can cause similar damage.
Nikki Fleming, with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, says they see an average of 100 Christmas tree fires and about 1,100 candle related fires incidents during the holidays season.
Fleming says you want to be smart when you're decorating for the holidays.
“If you are choosing a fresh tree, you want to make sure that you always keeping it watered. You want to choose a tree that is fresh. Check the needles on the tree and make sure that it’s not brittle or breaking off before you bring it into the home. And if you are choosing an artificial tree, you want to look for that flame resistant label on the packaging before you make that purchase,” Fleming said.
What if you're reusing the same tree or lights from last year?
“You want to look and check and make sure there’s no broken socket or broken wires or frayed wires on the tree or the lights themselves. If so, you may have to get rid of that product altogether start again and get a new one,” said Fleming.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says there are typically 200 decorating related injuries every day during the holidays. Last year, six people died – many from falls.
“So when you are putting your holiday decorations up, and you are using a ladder and other items, you want to make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for that and also maybe have a second person around to help support you,” said Fleming.
A lot of people like to leave their lights on at night, but the CPSC says turn then off or unplug them when you go to bed. You don't want an electrical short to set your tree on fire when you're sleeping.
The same goes for candles. Whenever you leave the room, blow them out. Don't leave candles burning when you're not there.
You can also use flameless candles, which are battery operated and look like a burning candle. But again, you probably want to turn these off as well when you go to bed.