FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DIVISION OF FIRE SAFETY OFFERS “FRESH CUT” CHRISTMAS TREE SAFETY TIPS

Dry, Unwatered Christmas Trees have the Potential to Fuel Residential Fires during the Holiday Period



TRENTON, NJ - The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety has issued an annual holiday reminder to consumers who choose to display a live tree as part of the holiday season.  A dry tree is a volatile fuel source and the leading cause of holiday blazes and electrical fires. For this reason, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Fire Safety urges families to avoid fire hazards associated with live Christmas trees.

State Fire Marshal and Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety William Kramer, Jr. reminds residents that a dry, unwatered tree, near a heat source or a faulty electrical circuit is dangerous and the combination can have a deadly result. “At the first sign of dryness, the tree should be removed and taken to the municipal recycling center,” said Kramer.

 

Christmas tree safety begins at the point of purchase with the selection of a freshly harvested tree. It is recommended that a close inspection is done for branches that bend and do not break, and those that retain needles after the traditional retail lot trunk stomp. A new cut in the trunk should be made for better water absorption before installing in a stand adequate for the tree size.

Keeping the tree well watered requires monitoring and recommends a daily check of the water level above the bottom of the trunk as well as the freshness of the needles and branches.

Other Tips:

  • Choose low power LED lighting.
  • Do not connect more than 50 large lights per strand.
  • Do not connect more than three mini light strands.

According to National Fire Prevention Association figures:

  • One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every six of Christmas tree fires.

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The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing public education and firefighter training programs.