WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News

Holiday hazards in your home

(WEAU) - We love putting up our Christmas tree and lights to get in the spirit, but according to the National Fire Protection Association, one of every 18 reported Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 141 total reported house fires.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission held its annual demonstration to remind consumers about safety during the holidays.

Whether you're putting up Christmas tree or Christmas lights, safety should be the highest priority.

"Check each set of lights whether their new or old, for any broken or cracked sockets frayed or bare wires or loose connection because those can all become fire hazards,” said Michelle Reinen, Wisconsin Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection.

According to the Chippewa Falls Fire Department, it’s not just your standard decorations that can be the problem.

"There's about 10,000 candle fires that cause house fire every year and 50% about 5,000 happen in December,” said Chief Tom Larson of the Chippewa Falls Fire Department

"Always use nonflammable holders and making sure the decorations are away from them," said Reinen.

The CPSC even demonstrated how easily a tree can catch on fire from unsafe lights. So I wanted to learn more and found myself at Lowe’s Creek Tree Farm. They've raised real ones the past 30 years.

"It can drink a lot more than you think of in that 24 hours period, so you want to make sure to give it at least a gallon that first day,” said Therese Olson, one of the owners of Lowe’s Creek Tree Farm.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, out of millions of real trees sold, only one one-thousandth of a percent have been involved in a house fire.

"Artificial or non-Christmas tree are made from petroleum and plastic based products," said Olson,

If you plan on buying a Christmas tree this season and you’re concerned about the dryness of it, what you can do is touch the needles and you can feel the moisture. Even if you look in the tree, even though there are orange needles, it doesn't necessarily mean its dead, it’s just the natural growth of the tree."

But if you do have a fire, you’re first line of defense is your smoke alarm. Chief Larson says many alarms are more than ten years old and don't work.

"We had a couple in this city where they thought the detected was working b/c the put fresh batteries in it but didn't work because detector was really old,” said Larson.

Just opening it up and looking inside for the manufacturing year can save a life this holiday season.


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