Jimmy Patronis Warns Floridians About Christmas Trees Catching Fire

This week, state Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis hosted a Christmas tree burn demonstration with the Tallahassee Fire Department and urged Floridians to know the potential dangers of Christmas trees and holiday decorations.

If not maintained and properly removed, trees can become dry and easily ignite. According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost one third of home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems. Between 2016-2020, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 160 home fires due to burning Christmas trees. Reports say, these fires cause an annual average of two civilian deaths, 11 civilian injuries, and $12 million in property damage and Christmas lights are the primary cause of these fires 44 percent of the time.

“It was an honor to partner with the Tallahassee Fire Department today and host the annual Christmas tree burn demonstration to raise awareness of the potential dangers of Christmas trees and decorations. While Christmas trees are an important part of the holiday season, it is critical that Floridians maintain and dispose of their trees to prevent possible fire-related incidents. Always remember that a dry tree is a dangerous tree. Watering your Christmas tree and unplugging holiday lights prior to going to sleep and leaving the house are simple ways to make sure you enjoy the holidays safely,” Patronis said.

Tallahassee Fire Chief Jerome Gaines said, “Proactive steps can help protect your family from the heart-wrenching damage of a home fire during the holidays. Through outreach and education, the Tallahassee Fire Department and our state partners want to ensure every home is fire safe this season.”

The CFO’s office offered the following Five Christmas Fire Safety Tips:

1. Check the water in your tree stand every day. When your Christmas tree dries out, it becomes more flammable and can lead to disaster.

2. Never leave tree lights on overnight or while you are out. Not unplugging lighting can be an accident waiting to happen. Additionally, always purchase lights that have been accepted by a national testing organization.

3. Open flames don’t belong near your Christmas tree. A lit candle and a Christmas tree can cause a dangerous situation in a hurry.

4. Change out damaged or broken lights. Don’t wait until it is too late. If a there is a problem with a bulb or string of lights, replace it right away. Always read all manufacturer’s instructions prior to making any repairs.

5. 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.

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