The turkey feast has been devoured and with Thanksgiving now behind us
many Hawaii residents are gearing up for a balmy holiday season in paradise.
In Hawaii we can't dash through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh
– but we can take advantage of other holiday traditions.
And nothing heralds in the holidays like the twinkle of lights, your favorite
ornaments and the well-loved scent of a Christmas tree in the home –
and nothing can ruin the lighthearted festivities faster than someone
getting hurt by your favorite holiday arrangement. To help you keep your
loved ones safe during this joyous season, here are a few tips and suggestions
on trimming the perfect Christmas tree:
Select a tree that's fire retardant.
The Honolulu Fire Department encourages residents to consider purchasing
an artificial, fire-retardant tree. However, if you are committed to purchasing
a live tree you should look for fresh, green trees with branches that
are difficult to bend and which does not easily lose needles. A fresh
tree will also be sticky to the touch.
Spend the time to make sure your tree is stable and set up properly.
The National Christmas Tree Association strongly discourages cutting or
whittling the trunk of the tree to fit the stand which makes it more unstable.
It's also helpful to have one or more people assisting as you set
up the tree - you can get the whole ohana involved! - to help make sure
that the tree is straight in the stand before screwing or clamping it
into place. If using a more "old fashioned" tree stand with
screws, you might also consider weighting your tree or even tethering
it to the wall or ceiling to further ensure that it can't tip or fall.
Keep your tree green.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) an estimated
0.12% of all residential fires over the year involve a Christmas tree
(either real or artificial). When you bring your tree home, wash it down
and leave it outside the house until you're ready to decorate it.
Cut one inch off the trunk to allow it to more easily absorb water and
check the water level daily to ensure that it always has fresh water –
a six foot tree will drink in about half a gallon of water every day.
To help keep it fresher longer you can use a commercial preservative which
can be mixed into the water or create your own homemade blend with one
capful of bleach to every cup of water.
Decorate with design.
Before decking your trees boughs with holly (and your favorite lights and
ornaments) think about where you place the tree, being careful to avoid
heat sources such as a fireplace or heat vent and not to block exits and
doors in the event of a fire. Be sure to inspect all holiday light wiring
for defects or frays and read instructions carefully (indoor lights should
only be used on the interior of homes and the same for exterior lighting).
Also be careful not to overload extension cords which could cause them
to overheat and start a fire.
Once the jingle bells have rung and presents have been open – throw
the tree out.
It is never a good idea to experiment burning your tree to get rid of it.
A dry Christmas tree can be consumed in fire in less than 10 seconds with
30 foot high flames and enough smoke to fill a large room. Once the holiday
is over, remove all the lights and ornaments and discard it promptly outside
and away from the house. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking
it to a recycling center or having it hauled away.