New Haven—Mayor Toni N. Harp and Fire Chief John Alston Jr. today issued a reminder about fire safety strategies for the forthcoming holiday season. As more and more residents plan to put up a Christmas tree in their homes, Mayor Harp and Chief Alston reaffirmed their commitment to safety in making their suggestions to city residents about how to stay safe no matter the situation.
“As New Haven residents come together to celebrate the holidays and spend cherished time with loved ones, taking a few precautionary measures now will ensure the safety of family members, neighbors, and community members in the future,” Mayor Harp said.
Chief Alston reminded residents to keep Christmas tree safety in mind beginning when the tree is selected and until it is recycled after the holidays.
In a recent report by the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas tree-related home fires caused over $14 million in damages nationwide. In addition, Christmas tree-related fires were found to be more dangerous than the average house fire, and much of the risk to residents resulted from the tree being placed too close to a heat source.
“Christmas trees bring joy to many holiday celebrations, but is important to recognize how easily they can catch on fire if one does not take the proper precautions. New Haveners must be mindful of any heat source in the vicinity of the tree and ensure that they are a safe distance apart. A little extra attention goes a long way toward keeping the holiday season fire-free,” Chief Alston said.
In addition, Chief Alston issued specific Christmas tree safety guidelines:
- Residents should only choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Before it is set up in the home and placed in the stand, residents should cut two inches from the base of the trunk.
- It is critical that the tree is not obstructing any exits and is placed at least three feet away from any heat source such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents, or lights. The tree stand should be watered daily.
- When decorating the tree, it is important to double check that all lighting instruments are fit for indoor use have the label of an independent testing laboratory.
- Candles should never be used on or near Christmas trees as decorations.
- Always replace strings of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulbs, and consult the manufacturer’s instructions for the limit of how many strands to connect.
- When leaving the house or going to bed, always turn off Christmas tree lights.