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Help Me Hank: Tips for avoiding Christmas tree fires

Christmas trees cause about 160 fires a year

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – While Christmas trees are beautiful additions to your home during the holiday season, they can be dangerous.

“When a Christmas tree does ignite, it doesn’t take very long to get fully involved and to overtake a room," said Steve Kohut, the training chief at the Sterling Heights Fire Department.

Christmas trees cause about 160 fires a year. On average, the fires result in three deaths, 15 injuries and millions of dollars in damage.

There are alarm ornaments that can be put on trees. The alarm is designed to make a noise if it reaches a temperature of 150 degrees while hanging on a tree, but when put to the test, it didn’t do very well.

With the help of the Sterling Heights Fire Department, an alarm was placed on a tree and it was lit on fire in multiple places. Despite the tree being on fire, it took more than 35 seconds for the alarm to go off. Firefighters said it was too late of a response.

So, what’s the best way to prevent Christmas tree fires?

Pick a tree that is still alive and cut it 2 inches from the base, and be sure to water it daily once it is in your home.

Also, keep trees at least three feet away from heaters and radiators.

When choosing lights to decorate with, don’t buy off-brand ones because they aren’t regulated to safety standards, and don’t leave lights on when you are asleep or not home.


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