Rock responsibly around the Christmas tree

The Christmas season is nearly here, and with it comes Christmas trees. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security wants to remind all Hoosiers to decorate their homes this year with caution. While Christmas trees and decorations can be enjoyable, they can also be a fire hazard.

Here are a few easy tips to make sure the holidays are safe:

Choosing the tree and location

  • Choose a live Christmas tree that is fresh. Needles should not fall off when touched.
  • When placing a live tree in its stand, cut 1-2” from the base of the trunk to ensure better water intake.
  • Place the tree at least three feet away from any heat source.
  • Always make sure the tree is not blocking any exits.
  • Water the tree daily by adding water to the tree stand. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard.
  • Even if an artificial tree is chosen, confirm that the tree is labeled as fire retardant.

Lighting the tree

One quarter of Christmas tree fires are started by electrical problems. When decorating the tree with family and friends, make sure to consider these tips:

  • Use proper lights in the correct areas. Some lights are for indoor use only.
  • When using string lights, discard any with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
  • Never connect more than three strands of lights together.
  • Never use candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights or any other decorations with lights before leaving the home or going to bed.

For more information on holiday safety, visit

SOURCE: News release from Indiana Department of Homeland Security