WASHINGTON - Dramatic video shows why you should keep your Christmas tree watered this holiday season to help prevent a fire in your home.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology released the video showing a side-by-side comparison of two trees on fire: One that had been watered and one that was dry.
The shocking video shows the dry tree bursting into the flames in under 10 seconds, sparking a massive fire in the simulated home. The fire in the watered tree didn't spread and remained contained.
Watch the video in the media player above.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that more than 200 home fires each year start with a Christmas tree. Those fires caused an average of six deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in property damage annually, according to NFPA.
NFPA reports that 40 percent of Christmas tree fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment and about 25 percent involved some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, that was too close to the tree.
To help avoid a Christmas tree fire, NFPA recommends the following tips:
- Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2 inches from the base of the trunk.
- Make sure the tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat source, like 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.
- Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer's instructions for number of light strands to connect.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Get rid of the tree after Christmas. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.