The Santa Barbara County Fire Department offers the following suggestions to keep your Christmas safe:
- When purchasing a live tree, look for signs of freshness. A fresh tree is green, the needles will be difficult to pull from branches, and a minimum number of needles should fall off.
- To keep your tree fresh, cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption and check the water level daily. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
- When placing your tree in your home, make sure it is kept away from heat sources like fireplaces or heater vents. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
- Check your lights before placing them on your tree. Look for worn or frayed wires and broken bulbs.
- When you leave your home or go to sleep at night, turn off the lights on the tree.
- Dispose of your tree properly. Never burn branches or needles in a fireplace or woodstove. Discard a dry tree promptly. The best way to dispose of it is to take it to a recycling center or have it hauled away by a community curbside pick-up service.
- Check your smoke detectors to make sure they are working properly.