Fire officials offer tips to help people prevent a Christmas catastrophe

Mike Dougherty
December 14, 2018 - 4:06 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- The holiday season is in full swing, and fire officials say there are a few precautions you can take to prevent a Christmas catastrophe. 

It only takes a little spark and the right conditions for a Christmas tree to go up in flames.

"Inside that booth, we simulated what would happen if you had old Christmas lights that frayed and began to short during the night while you were sleeping," said Captain Billy Richardson, with the Ogden Fire Company in Upper Chichester. 

Richardson says the entire room could be engulfed in seconds.

"The dryer the tree, the quicker it's going to go up, the less time you have to get out of your house and have your family safe," he explained.

Keeping the tree watered is the key. Of course it's also important to make sure you get the tree home safely. Jana Tidwell with AAA Mid-Atlantic says every year, thousands of accidents are caused by people who didn't tie the tree to the car properly.

"You want to make sure when you put the tree to the top of your car that the trunk is toward the front of your car," Tidwell said. "That evenly distributes the weight across your car. You want to loop over the tree and tie to the roof rack or tie to the inside handles of your car."

And she says take the roads less traveled with lower speeds on the way home, if possible.