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The New York State Department of State offers tips on Christmas tree safety in the home.

Choose a freshly cut tree

Cut a few inches off the trunk before placing in the stand

Trees need water; check and refill often

Keep tree away from halls, stairs and exits

Use wire or nylon cord to secure tree to the wall or ceiling to keep children or pets from tipping it over

Keep away from heat sources, sparks and/or open flames

Use U.L. or F.M. approved lights. No candles

Check and replace worn or damaged light sets or wires

Use only non-combustible decorations

Avoid "octopus" connections and too many lead cords which could overload circuits

Use only spot or floodlights on artificial trees

Disconnect at bedtime or when unattended

Remove discarded packages and wrappings from the house immediately

To avoid a chimney fire, never burn wrappings in a fireplace or wood stove

If the tree dries out, take it down and remove if from the building

Make sure a smoke detector is installed nearby.

Steven Nola is owner of AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service, part of a national home inspection service.

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