Experts warn people of Christmas tree fire hazards

"They're almost as dangerous as a dry Christmas tree."


Those looking to buy an artificial Christmas trees should tread carefully, fire officials say, as they can go up in flames quickly.

Fire officials with the New Hampshire State Fire Marshal's Office and the National Fire Sprinkler Association demonstrated that fact Wednesday at the New Hampshire Fire Academy in Concord.

"Because it's the holiday season we're using Christmas trees to show that trees tend to burn fairly rapidly," State Fire Marshal Paul Parisi said.

There were two side-by-side rooms, one with no fire sprinklers and the other with fire sprinkles, and both had fake Christmas trees.

"And what I just discovered recently about artificial Christmas trees is that many of them are not rated by the Underwriters Laboratories, so they're not fire retardant," Dave LaFond with National Fire Sprinkler Association said.

Underwriters Laboratories, or UL, is a global safety certification company.

LaFond said "they're almost as dangerous as a dry Christmas tree." He also said there needs to be safety protections in place for those with fake trees.

"I think some people have become complacent with them, so we need to keep them away from combustibles obviously, a heat source, we have to check the lights on it to make sure they're not crimped," LaFond said.

Parisi said if you're buying a fake Christmas tree, make sure it has a UL label.

"That will make sure an independent laboratory has looked at the tree and make sure that it has some fire 'resistancy' to it and if it has lights built into it that they've looked at that aspect of it as well," Parisi said.

The fire marshal said if you get a real tree to water it daily.