SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Christmas and New Year’s have passed. Many delay the hard work of taking down Christmas trees and decorations well into the New Year. But a recent statistic might give you extra motivation to get that done sooner.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly 40% of house fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January.

“Christmas trees are combustible items that become increasingly flammable as they continue to dry out,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “The longer you keep a Christmas tree in your home, the more of a fire hazard it becomes.”

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, they are much more likely to be serious and end in death. The NFPA says one of every 34 reported home fires that start with a Christmas tree result in a death, compared to one death per 142 reported home fires.

“All Christmas trees can burn, but a dried out tree can become engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds,” said Carli. “Sadly, over the past couple of years, we’ve seen incidents where Christmas tree fires have resulted in deadly consequences for multiple family members, including young children.”

The NFPA is also offering helpful safety tips for taking down lights and the rest of your decorations as well as storing them properly.

  • Use the gripping area on the plug when unplugging electrical decorations. Never pull the cord to unplug any device from an electrical outlet as this can harm the wire and insulation of the cord increasing the risk for shock or electrical fire.
  • As you pack up light strings, inspect each line for damage, throwing out any sets that have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires.
  • Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags, or wrap them around a piece of cardboard.
  • Store electrical decorations in a dry place away from children and pets where they will not be damaged by water or dampness.

To learn more about fire safety during the winter season click here.

Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.