Christmas tree safety tips

By  | 

TRUCKEE, Calif. (CBS) Christmas trees can become a hazard if you don't take care of them.

"Keeping that tree watered every day, they will drink a lot of water in that first week," said Chief Charles Moore of the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District.

Along with general maintenance, you need to make sure you are aware of lighting and where you put your tree.

"Not to string too many lights and plug into a wall if you can but, most importantly, take your tree away from heat sources," Moore advised.

Moore recommends you put your tree at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, radiators and candles.

If you plan to use an artificial tree, make sure it's fire retardant. But just because it says that does not mean it won't catch fire, it just means the tree will resist burning and can be extinguished faster.

"I like to recommend LED lighting because they don't use much power and are safer than old bulbs that got really hot," Moore said.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heat sources that are too close cause about one in four tree fires. Electrical problems cause one in three fires, so you also need to be aware of how you hang your decorations.

"I actually don't recommend using staples because you might go into a wire and short it out and start a fire," Moore said.

Be sure to replace any lights with broken cords or connections. And check to see if the lights are in good condition and whether they are meant to be outdoors.

Finally, when it comes to decorating your home, make sure you have someone with you to help.