Artificial Xmas Trees the Way to Go says Fire Prevention Officer
Prince George, B.C. – It may not seem as festive but Prince George Fire Rescue is urging residents to buy an artificial tree this holiday season.
“I know they’re not as traditional but they are much, much safer than a natural tree,” says Chief Fire Prevention Officer Marcel Profeit. “If you are going to use a natural tree then the most important thing is to make sure you pick one that is not too dry so that it’s not dropping needles already because that is much less safe.”
And if you’re still intent on having a natural tree, he says there are other precautionary measures to take.
“Make sure you take off at least two inches of the trunk to give it a fresh opening to absorb the water. And you must keep your water supply full at all times.”
He says the location of the tree is just as important.
“Obviously, you don’t want them to be around candles or that kind of thing but it’s also important they’re not around heating elements – electric baseboards, even electric vents – anything that is going to blow warm air on there and dry it out much quicker.”
And if you have a pet, Profeit says it’s important to secure your tree as safely as possible.
“You don’t want your pets knocking them over. If you have your lights lit and the pet knocks the tree over you’re going to break bulbs and create heat that way. Obviously if you have pets don’t light candles or don’t leave the candles unattended,” he says.
“If you do pets are notorious for being inquisitive and curious and wanting to know what’s going on and especially cats will jump up on mantles and it takes just one misstep and you’ve got a candle down and either into the tree or into the pile of gifts and we’ve got a problem.”
And though fire education has improved over the years he says tragic situations still happen.
“I have been to fires over the Christmas season that have started from candles. Once a family had lost someone during the year and lit a candle in the living room as memoriam over Christmas and that started their house on fire and a fire at home is devastating at anytime – especially at Christmas.”