This week, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis alerted Floridians of the importance of removing Christmas trees from your home quickly and safely this holiday season to avoid fire-related tragedies.
More than 29 percent of home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January.
“A live Christmas tree can go up in flames in an instant, so it’s critical that you remove your tree and store your decorations quickly after the holidays. Make sure to safely remove lighting and check for any broken bulbs or wiring before storing them in a dry place. It’s important to keep your live trees and other disposable decorations away from your home while awaiting trash pickup. Always remember that dried wood and pine needles can be a fire hazard,” Patronis said.
The CFO’s office offered the following Tips for Holiday Decoration Disposal and Storage:
- Check for local disposal programs. Many communities offer a Christmas tree recycling program and have specific drop off locations or procedures for disposal. You may be able to leave it at the curb at your typical yard waste or bulk collection day. It’s best to check with your local authorities for details.
- Do not store your tree in the home or garage. A dry tree can pose a serious fire risk when left in a garage or car port. Do not place your tree against the home before disposal.
- Use caution when burning a tree. Do not burn your Christmas tree without checking with your local community for their open burn regulations. As with any fire, always keep a fire extinguisher close.
- Check lights and decorations before storing. As you pack up light strings, inspect each line for damage, throwing out any sets that have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires. Store electrical decorations in a dry place away from children and pets where they will not be damaged by water or dampness. This can save you from accidentally creating electrical hazards for next year.