PREVENTING CHRISTMAS TREE FIRES: Safety is the greatest gift you can give your family

HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS: Why you should water your Christmas tree

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas as folks get into the holiday spirit.

“I’m just out trying to find that perfect tree,” says Kiran Leblanc, who is picking out a tree.

The smell of these pine trees really gets you into the Christmas spirit…but if you're not careful, this family tradition could turn into a deadly disaster.

Video from the National Institute of Standards and Technology shows a Christmas tree going up in flames in a matter of seconds.

“Statistics tell us that one out of every 31 Christmas tree fires actually results in a fire death,” explains Curt Monte with the Baton Rouge Fire Department.

Monte says it's easy for families to overlook fire safety during Christmas time.

“Christmas tree fires, although they’re not as common as other fires, but they’re so much larger they grow very fast; the home can light up within less than a minute,” Monte explains.

VIDEO: WATERED Christmas Tree vs. DRY Christmas Tree

The first thing you can do to avoid a tree fire is to keep your tree watered. The dryer the tree, the faster it burns.

Make sure your Christmas tree lights are not damaged and avoid leaving them on overnight.

Where you put your tree is also important.

“We don’t want to put a tree in front of a doorway on front of a window oh, I know people like to put them in front of windows so the books outside can see them. We don’t recommend doing that, that could be a means of escape and it could block you and your family from getting out of the home,” Monte says.

Monte also recommends plugging tree lights directly into the wall rather than using extension cords or surge protectors, which can cause fires if overloaded.

And never put candles or heat sources near the tree.

Safety is the greatest gift you can give your family.

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