Safe trees and decorating for the holidays

The Panzer Kaserne community tree, illuminated Nov. 30, won’t dry out like a cut, indoor tree. The USAG Stuttgart Installation Safety Office offers a few pointers on how to keep your tree green and safe. (Photo by John Reese, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs)

Installation Safety Office
U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart


As you deck the halls this holiday season, be safety smart.

Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. Before placing the tree in its stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk. Add water to the tree stand, and be sure to water it daily.

Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and don’t put the tree where it blocks an exit.

Lighting the tree

Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use. Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for the number of LED strands to connect. Never use lit candles to decorate the tree. A small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can grow large very quickly.

If your bulbs are this old, it’s time to get new ones.

Always turn off the tree lights before leaving home or going to bed. For the tree and the rest of your home, choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant. Use an approved multi-plug adapter instead of extension cords for decorations and lights to avoid daisy chaining or overloading of circuits.

Get rid of the tree when it is dry. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.