Christmas tree safety tips for the holiday season

ISHPEMING — According to the National Fire Protection Association between the years 2012 and 2016, firefighters across the U.S. responded to an average of 170 house fires started by a Christmas tree.

Ishpeming Fire Chief Ed Anderson says one thing you want to look out for is the lights around your house and tree.

“Don’t overload your circuits and don’t overload your plugs. Excessive use of electrical cords can definitely be a problem, if you plug in too many things into the outlet. They can overheat and cause a fire,” said Ed Anderson, Fire Chief City of Ishpeming.

It is said that real trees can burn faster than newspaper. So if you’re looking for the safest option in a Christmas tree it is recommended that you go with plastic.

“The artificial trees are probably safer. You don’t have to worry about watering them or them drying out or things like that. You still have to take care of them and make sure your lights are in good working order,” Anderson added.

But if you do love the look and fragrance of a fresh cut Christmas tree there are some tips to keep in mind.

“The fresh ones you water them properly, so they don’t dry out. Don’t have them up too long obviously. If the needles start to fall off excessively, it’s probably been up too long and you really want to take care of that and get it outside,” said Anderson

Additionally, make sure your Christmas tree isn’t blocking any fire exits in your house.

“Many times we have seen in the past where we have gone to a house for an incident and people have blocked the entrance and exit doors with furniture. With the holidays they have the tree in the room and they have to move furniture and they door block exits and entrances which can definitely be a problem,” Anderson added.

The fire chief also recommends using battery operated candles and to always stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking holiday meals.