NEW ORLEANS – Before you start decorating your home for the holidays, firefighters say the key to a safe holiday begins before you pick out your next Christmas tree.

Every year, firefighters in St. Tammany Parish host a demonstration of how fast a Christmas tree can catch fire.

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2017 Christmas Tree Burn Demo

We would like to thank everyone that showed up this afternoon for our Christmas tree burn demonstration. Although Christmas tree fires are rare, we recommend following nationally recognized safety precautions.Christmas tree Safety TipsAccording to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) each year, fire departments in the U.S. respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Carefully decorating Christmas trees can help make your holidays safer.Picking the tree• If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.• Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.Placing the tree• 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, 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.***As an added safety precaution we recommend adding a smoke detector in the room where the Christmas tree is located***Decorating the tree• Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.• Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.• Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.• Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.• Pick flame-resistant decorationsAfter Christmas• Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. 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.

Posted by St. Tammany Fire Protection District #1 on Saturday, December 9, 2017

To prevent your living room from going up in flames like in the video above, firefighters are offering some safety tips for the holiday season:

Before buying a Christmas tree:

  • When buying a live tree, choose one with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • If you choose to buy an artificial tree, make sure the tree is fire retardant.

When placing the tree in your home:

  • Cut 1-2 inches from the trunk of the tree before placing it in a stand.
  • Place the tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source like a fireplace, heater, lights or candles.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Place your tree in a room with a smoke detector. If there is no smoke detector, add one.

When decorating the tree:

  • Use lights that are marked as "indoor." Lights sold in the store should be marked for either indoor or outdoor use.
  • Get rid of any string of lights with loose bulbs or broken cords.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree
  • Use flame-resistant decorations

Maintaining your tree:

  • Add water to the tree daily
  • Always turn off the Christmas tree lights before leaving the home or going to bed.

WWL-TV reporter Meghan Kee can be reached at mkee@wwltv.com; Follow her on Twitter at @MeghanKeeWWL