On December 11, Supervisor Ed Romaine and the Town Board joined the Brookhaven Town Chief Fire Marshal Chris Mehrman (pictured) for a dramatic demonstration to illustrate the destructive fire hazard associated with the improper care of live Christmas trees.
Utilizing a “burn pod” furnished to simulate a living room, members of the Town’s Division of Fire Prevention first attempted to ignite a fresh Christmas tree, which did not burn. They replaced the watered tree with a dry, unwatered tree which quickly ignited in a ball of fire, causing damage to the household furniture items in the “burn pod.” The Chief Fire Marshal also demonstrated the proper use of Christmas tree lights in use during the holidays.
Supervisor Romaine said, “It took only seconds for this fire to develop and cause severe damage in the burn pod. This was a frightening, first-hand look at what could happen to a home if Christmas trees are not sufficiently watered. I urge everyone to follow all the fire safety precautions and have a safe and happy holiday season.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Christmas trees are the item first ignited in an estimated average of 210 reported home structure fires per year. These fires result in an annual average of seven civilian deaths, 19 civilian injuries, and $17.5 million in direct property damage. On average, one of every 31 reported home Christmas tree fires result in a death, compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home fires. The NFPA offers the following tips for live Christmas tree safety:
- If using a real tree, select one with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1″–2″ from the base of the trunk.
- Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
- Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
To learn more about how to keep fire-safe this holiday season, go to the National Fire Protection Association website at www.nfpa.org.