Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

December 19, 2006 > Holiday safety tips

Holiday safety tips

by From the Union City Fire Department

A cut Christmas tree is like a cut flower - neither will last very long without water. A tree purchased from a lot or cut on a tree farm can retain fire resistance if you follow these simple steps:

Keep the fresh cut end of the trunk in water.
Check the water stand daily.
Locate the tree away from heat sources.
Do not place the tree near a heater outlet, wood stove, or fireplace. Put it in the coldest location possible. Turn down the room heat at night. Even a properly cared for cut tree, will continue to dry out.
Never leave a lit tree unattended.
Remove the tree immediately after the holidays.
Dispose of the tree by cutting it up into pieces no longer than five feet in length and putting it out with your garbage on your regular collection day for the two weeks following Christmas for pick-up.
Never burn a cut, dried out Christmas tree in your wood burning stove or fireplace. The tremendous amount of heat released can severely damage even the best stove or fireplace.

Carefully check all electrical wiring before you install decorations.
Check light sets for broken sockets and defective wiring.
Use only UL approved outdoor lights outdoors.
Never use indoor lights outside or outdoor lights indoors.
Turn off decorative lights when you leave the house or go to bed.
Use miniature, low voltage lights on a tree.
Standard size lights generate heat, which speeds up drying of the tree.

The use of candles is discouraged, but if they are used:
Place candles in sturdy, non-flammable holders or containers.
Locate candles away from the tree, evergreen arrangements and other flammable decorations.
Keep candles out of the reach of children and where they cannot be accidentally knocked over.
Extinguish candles before leaving the house or going to bed.

Put discarded wrapping paper in the trash for collection
Never throw wrapping into a fireplace or wood-burning stove. They generate tremendous amounts of heat that can damage fireplaces and wood stoves.

For more information on how to keep you and your family safe through the holidays, contact the Union City Fire Department, Fire Prevention Division at (510) 675-5360 or visit

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