It's the time of year when Christmas trees, illuminated with lights, garland and ornaments, start popping up in homes everywhere.
Unfortunately, while Christmas trees are beautiful, they can also pose a danger if you are not careful.
In January 2015, a dry Christmas tree sparked a fatal fire in Annapolis that killed six people.
The American Christmas Tree Association said Christmas trees result in $13 million in property damage annually.
Here are some of the association's tips:
- Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire, so look for a tree with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t break easily from its branches. The tree shouldn’t be shedding its needles readily.
- Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.
- Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested for safety, and throw out any damaged lights.
- Any lights you use outdoors must be labeled suitable for exterior placement, and be sure to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle.
- Keep all your holiday candles away from your Christmas tree, furniture and decorations.
- Don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree lights off each night.
Discard your tree when it starts to drop its needles.
Montgomery County's Fire and Rescue Service also reminds people to make sure Christmas trees are in sturdy holdersand can't be knocked over by pets or children.
Overloaded extension cords and outlets can be hazardous. Make sure the extension cord is suitable for the electrical load needed, and don't place cords under furniture or rugs, Fire and Rescue Service said. Never plug two extension cords together to increase the total length.
The National Christmas Tree Association reminds consumers that overloaded electric outlets and faulty wires are the most common causes of holiday fires in homes, and these fires can be just as dangerous with an artificial tree.
About a year ago, an artificial Christmas tree malfunctioned at the Annapolis Yacht Club, causing more than $9 million in damages.