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Christmas Tree Safety Tips

Another year is quickly coming to an end and like most families who celebrate Christmas the time for putting our Christmas trees up is fast approaching. Every year, the familiar route ensues to retrieve the box marked 'Christmas stuff' which is brought down with the Christmas tree following suit.

After that comes the traditional decorating of the tree that is quickly covered in gold, silver and red tinsel, Santa ornaments, stars, fake Styrofoam presents, crackers, and not forgetting the many Christmas lights that light the tree during the dark evenings.

Of course, unless you want your Christmas spoiled by copying the Griswolds Christmas tree disaster in Christmas Vacation, then it's important for you to check and recheck those lights by doing a safety check on them.

Below are tips on how to avoid a Christmas tree disaster from striking your home.

Buy a good tree. Simple as it sounds, a good tree can be tricky to find, especially if you are buying a real Christmas tree. The tree that you should get should be a fresh green tree. Its needles should be hard to pull from the branches, and its needles should not break if bent between your fingers. Additionally, you will find that the bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped the tree should not lose too many needles.

Set your tree up right. Make sure your Christmas tree is located away from vents, radiators and fireplaces as heated rooms can quickly dry out real trees. It's always a good idea to make sure that your tree is standing in water to maintain its hydration while inside and make sure your tree doesn't block any doorways.

Buy the the right fake. If you're purchasing an artificial tree, it's important that you get the right one. Make sure that your artificial tree is labelled 'Fire Resistant.'

Be careful of decorations. If your home has small children, make sure that any sharp, breakable, small or weighted decorations are positioned high up the tree, away from their reach. Any other decorations that could cause choking should also be removed from reach.

The first light. Before you light your Christmas tree up, make sure that you have checked each set of lights, whether they are new or old, for any broken or cracked sockets, bare or frayed wires, or loose connections. Any that you find should be thrown out and remember that electric lights should never be used on a metallic tree.

Night lights. If you are intending to employ lights outdoors make sure that the ones you

are using have been certified for use outside. If so, plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle, or if you have a portable GFCI, you can utilize that too.

As simple as these steps may sound, it is surprising how many people are injured due to Christmas decorations. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 12,000 consumers are treated for holiday-related decorating incidents in hospital emergency departments each year.

As a result, it's important for these safety checks to be taken into account and undertaken so that you can avoid becoming another consumer who needs to be treated for an accident during the holiday season that could easily have been prevented.

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