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The Cheshire Fire Department offers the following safety recommendations for holiday decorations.
*Before natural trees are set up, the trunk should be sawed off at least one inch above the original cut, set in a stand, and hot water added. This initial fresh cut and hot water treatment opens up the sap channels in the tree so that it can take up water (use cool water thereafter). Keep your tree stand water level above the cut in the trunk to prevent the tree from forming a sap seal. A sap sealed tree trunk will not draw water, which is needed for it to remain fresh.
*All trees should be held upright in sturdy stands having a base that is sufficiently broad enough to effectively support the tree. Guy wires may be needed to steady oversized trees.
*Natural trees having root balls should be moistened daily and cut natural trees should be placed in containers of water sufficient to provide at least a one-day supply. A one gallon capacity container is recommended.
*Natural trees should remain indoors only for as long a period of time as they are fresh. Cut trees are thirsty. They may drink from two pints to a gallon of water per day, so make sure to check the water level daily and supply fresh cool water as needed. A maximum of 10 days is suggested for cut trees.
*All trees and decorations should be located a safe distance from sources of heat, such as heaters, fireplaces, stoves, television sets, candles, and the like. Never decorate your tree with candles.
*Overloaded electrical outlets and faulty wires are a common cause of holiday-related accidents. Worn-out electrical cords and plugs should be replaced. Avoid too many plugs in one outlet.
Use multi-outlet power strips when running many applications or decorative light screens.
*All sources of electric lighting, both direct and indirect, should be in good condition and consist of equipment that has been tested and labeled or listed for the specific purpose by a recognized testing laboratory.
All lighting should be turned off or, better yet, disconnected when the area is unattended. This is especially important in residences when the occupants are asleep.