As we get close to the holiday season residents have begun hunting for that perfect authentic Christmas tree to bring into their house and decorate. 

The Moose Jaw Fire Department wanted to remind residents of the care that is needed to be taken with a real tree, as they do pose a potential fire risk.  

Cathie Bassett, the Public Education Officer with the MJFD says that when picking out your tree make sure to choose one that is green and full of life.  

“Needles that don’t fall off, easy to touch, and they bend well so you know it’s really a good fresh tree,” says Bassett. “Dry trees are not so much and as it goes on people will have more of a selection with drier trees so be really careful when picking out your tree.” 

When the tree is brought home and before you place it in its stand, Bassett recommends cutting about 5 centimetres off the base of the truck. This will expose more of the tree and soak up a lot more water to keep it alive and well longer.  

One of the biggest things to keep in mind when picking out a spot for the tree is making sure that it is at least one metre away from a heat source such as a fireplace, radiator, candles, heat vents, or lights. In addition, make sure the tree is not blocking an exit. 

When it comes to watering your authentic tree, people are going to want to make sure to keep an eye on the level daily.  

“Add water to the tree stand daily because those trees are very thirsty and we could forget. Sometimes your pets will drink out of it and take away the water from the tree. Just check on it to make sure it has plenty of water.  

Once the perfect spot is found and the tree is in its stand, the decorating portion will begin, which does come with risks when it comes to adding those lights.  

“Before you put your lights on check all of your older lights, I know people keep Christmas lights for years because Christmas is once a year. Sometimes the wires in your tree lighting are compromised in some way when it’s old and the plastic is coming off and the wires are exposed.” 

Bassett recommends that when purchasing lights make sure that they are CSA approved and use the proper lighting for its appropriate use. She also says to avoid plugging in multiple stands of lights together and to read the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper use. Also, don't use lit candles as a decoration on the tree. 

“The more extension cords you plug together could cause an electrical fire.” 

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), one of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.  

Bassett also mentioned always turning your Christmas tree lights off before leaving the house or going to bed.  

Authentic Christmas trees do dry out over time and become an even bigger fire danger. So, after the Christmas season, people may want to think about how to dispose of their trees.  

One of the biggest things to think about when disassembling the tree is storing it in the appropriate location.  

“Get them out of the house, don’t leave them in the home or garage, place them outside away from the homes.” 

The City of Moose Jaw offers a residential Christmas tree pickup service following the holiday season – usually in the middle of January.  

In addition to your tree, Bassett also reminds residents to bring their exterior lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and makes them last longer.  

With Christmas fast approaching Bassett wants people to have a fun but safe Christmas this holiday season.  

MJFD Xmas Tree Safety Nov 25.jpgPhoto credit: Moose Jaw Fire Department/Facebook.