The holidays are a joyous time to build warm memories with your loved ones. Pueblo West Fire Department wants to send you a holiday safety greeting so that your Christmas doesn’t get too warm—with fire that is. Did you know that Christmas trees alone result in 13 million dollars, annually, in property damage? More importantly, Christmas tree fires present a real risk towards family and friends. When showcasing a live tree in your home, the combination of tree dryness, electrical malfunction from lights, and poorly located heating sources can make for a deadly combination.

Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire, so look for a tree with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t break easily from its branches. The tree shouldn’t be shedding its needles readily.
Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.

Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested in a lab by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety, and throw out any damaged lights. Any lights you use outdoors must be labeled suitable for exterior placement, and be sure to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle. Even if you are using an artificial tree, be certain that you do not overload the amount of lighting you have to any extension cord and receptacle.

Keep all your holiday candles away from your Christmas tree, surrounding furniture and décor.
Bedtime means lights off! ¬ Don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree lights off each night as well.

When your tree begins to drop its needles, it’s time to say goodbye to your evergreen foliage until next year. So this year, follow our guidelines to avoid being another statistic in the National Fire Protection Association or United States Fire Administration report during the upcoming holiday season.

When decorating outdoors here are a few tips for safe use of outdoor lights:

• Be sure to use only lights rated for outdoor use.
• Consider replacing older outdoor lights with newer LED lights that are ‘greener’ and cooler.
• Securely anchor outdoor lights and decorations against the wind and storms with insulated holders or hooks.
• Use electrical connection protectors to keep water out.
• All outdoor electrical decorations should be plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). You can buy portable units for outdoor use, or you can have them permanently installed by an electrician.
• Don’t overload circuits. 15 amp circuits support 1,800 watts and 20 amp circuits support 2,400 watts.
• Do not drive nails, staples or tacks through wiring insulation; this can cause a fire.
• Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and extend their life.

Finally, let’s not forget the importance of making certain you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. No one thinks they will experience a fire, but sadly so many do over the holidays. Be sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in good working order and review your home escape plan with family and guests. As always, if you are having a fire emergency, call 911, but for any non-emergency questions or concerns about holiday fire safety, please call (719) 547-7337.

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