With the recent demand for live Christmas trees fire officials want to remind everyone of how dangerous the holiday staple can be if not properly cared for.
Jim McCann, Assistant Fire Chief with the Johnstown Fire Department, says they have a lot of incidents that involve Christmas trees this time of year and hope with more people getting live trees that wont increase.
McCann says it’s easy to make sure your Christmas tree doesn’t become a fire hazard and it all starts with where you put it in your home. When you start to trim your tree, McCann says keep it away from any open heating sources and don’t put your tree where it could block you from entering or exiting a room.
“When it catches fire if you have to go past that to get out of your property or out of that room to get out that may not be possible if it’s on fire,” said McCann.
McCann says to also make sure you water your tree properly, so it doesn’t dry out and become even more of a fire hazard. And if you hang lights on your tree McCann says make sure any extension cords used are in good working order.
If your Christmas tree does catch fire don’t think you’ll be able to put it out yourself. McCann says it can take only minutes for a tree to go up and flames and spread throughout your home.
“You won’t have time to react to that. So, if you’re home and your tree starts to catch fire you need to evacuate immediately,” said McCann.
When you do evacuate your home, McCann says make sure you close the door behind you if possible to help contain the fire. McCann also urges families to plan and create a fire safety plan on how you would evacuate your home and have a designated meeting space.