For many South Dakota families, the Christmas tree will be the focal point of the living room for the next several weeks.  Whether you the minimalist approach to decorating, or you go all Clark Griswold, the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, is here to make sure your family stays safe this Christmas season.

According to the NFPA, between 2013 and 2017, 160 home fires started with Christmas trees.  An average of three deaths, 15 injuries and $10 million in direct property damage annually.

They offer some tips to prevent Christmas tree fires:

  • Make sure string lights have no loose connections, cracked lamps or frayed cords.
  • Use only a single extension cord that can reach your home's outlet without being too long and being tangled.
  • Use UL-approved lights and cords.
  • Make sure lights are off when you go out and before you turn in for the night.
  • Make sure all outdoor light connectors are away from metal rain gutters and off the ground.
  • Never use candles to light or decorate a tree.
  • To lessen the chance of a fire hazard, purchase a freshly cut tree.
  • Make sure to keep your tree at least three feet away from any heat source.
  • Water the tree every day, and remove it from your home after Christmas or once it becomes dry.
  • Don't burn Christmas tree branches or wrapping paper in your fireplace.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that could burn.

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