Tips offered on Christmas tree safety

A small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can grow to be a large fire very quickly, according to Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services.

In an attempt to prevent those types of fires, the department has offered the following tips on picking, placing and lighting the Christmas tree.

To begin, pick a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

“When you get the tree home and before placing it in a stand, cut one-half inch from the base of the trunk, and make sure to place the tree at least three feet away from any heat source like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights. Also make sure the tree is not blocking an exit, and add water to the tree stand daily,” a spokesman said.

Tips on lighting the tree include using lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory.

Some lights are for indoor or outdoor use only, so make sure the lights you’re using are appropriate for the setting.

Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for the number of LED strands to connect and never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

As in every season, have a working smoke alarm installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times.