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.