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December 3, 2004
Christmas tree safety
Toronto Fire Services is available this weekend to help educate people about
Christmas Tree fire safety.

Date: Saturday and Sunday, December 4 and 5
Time: 12 to 4 p.m.
Place: IKEA at 1475 The Queensway and 15 Provost Dr.

Choosing a Christmas tree

Always get a tree that is freshly cut. It will stay green longer, retain its
fragrance and be less of a fire hazard.

Three freshness tests:
1. Branch Test - Draw the end of the branch (15 cm or 6 inches) through the cup
of your hand. The needles should slide through your hand without coming off.
2. Stump Test - Bang the stump end sharply on the ground. A freshly cut tree
should not lose its green needles. Remember that conifers shed some of their
needles almost constantly and some of these older yellow needles may still be
lodged against the inner branches.
3. Needle Test - Fold a needle back until the tip touches the stem making a
circle. The needle should not break but should bounce back into shape unless it
is frozen.
If you buy your tree several days before you plan to set it up, store the tree
outdoors or on a cool porch or patio until you are ready to decorate.

Setting up your Christmas tree

  • Before setting up the tree, saw two inches (5 cm) diagonally off the butt.
  • Use a tree stand that has widespread legs for better balance and a large water reservoir in which to immerse the tree butt.
  • Trees are thirsty. They may drink up to four litres of water per day, so be sure to check daily and supply fresh water as needed. A stand that holds at least four litres of water is recommended.
  • If you allow the water level to drop below the bottom of the tree, a seal will form just as it does on a cut flower and a new cut will be necessary.
  • Do not set your tree up near a heat source such as a radiator, television, fireplace or heating duct.
  • It should not block doors or windows.

Decorating your Christmas tree

  • Use Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certified lights.
  • Inspect lights before use. Check for cracked bulbs and for frayed, broken or exposed wires, and discard if faulty.
  • Choose decorations that are flame-retardant, non-combustible and non-conductive.
  • Avoid using angel hair (glass wool) together with spray-on snowflakes. This combination is highly combustible.
  • Turn off the tree lights when you leave and before you retire at night.
  • Never use lighted candles on your Christmas tree.

Following these safety measures should ensure that your tree stays fresh
indoors. Remove the tree within 10-14 days. After that amount of time, in a
heated building, even the freshest tree will begin to dry out.

For information about holiday fire safety, visit:
www.toronto.c a/fire/prevention/fire_safe_holiday

Media contact:
Captain Michael Strapko, Toronto Fire Services, 416-338-9319,
pager: 416-334-5223



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