Christmas Tree Safety Demonstration

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)– It’s always fun looking at all the different Christmas trees this time of year and how people get creative with decorating them, but sometimes, they can cause more heartache than happiness.

The Columbia fire department doesn’t want to stop by your house this holiday season and a way to ensure that is by checking the health of your Christmas tree, by running your fingers through the pine needles and making sure they don’t fall off.

“They can be a beautiful decoration but if used incorrectly they can be very dangerous and very destructive in your home,” George Adams said, Fire Marshal for Columbia.

It’s the holiday season, and nothing sounds better than sitting by a roaring fire with that light white fluffy stuff gently falling down, but that dream can come crashing down when the tree goes up in flames.  

“They say if it takes you more than 15-30 seconds to try to put out the fire, you’re behind the 8-ball, so you need to get out,” Aubrey Jenkins said, the chief of the Columbia Fire Department. 

The Columbia Fire Department says nearly 1 out of every 32 tree fires can result in death and can cause millions in property damage.

“Fire magnifies itself every minute,” Jenkins said.

There are plenty of things you can do to make sure firefighters aren’t making a stop to your house. Columbia Fire department says to water your tree twice a day and make sure the lights and electrical cords are in good condition and being used properly. They also say having two electrical cords plugged into each other is a major fire hazard.

“You want to make sure that the lights for the outside are used on the outside. You don’t want to use exterior lights on the interior,” Adams said. 

Keep the tree area a “no play zone” for kids or pets. And make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any kind of heat source.

“We like that beautiful Christmas ambiance, all our neighbors see our tree when we’re not home. Cut it off. They can see it when you’re home,” Jenkins said.

The fire department always wants to remind people to check their smoke alarms to make sure they are working, and stay in the kitchen when cooking.

” That could be the worst day of someone lives. Losing their homes, losing their presents, and the possibility of losing loved ones is very devastating. Some of these things could be prevented,” Adams said.

“No present is worth risking your life over because you know what? You can buy another present. You can’t buy another you,” Jenkins said.

All of these tree safety tips are for both artificial and real trees. If you use some common sense, you’ll be able to have a lot safer holiday season. 

Categories: Local News