SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The holiday season is in full swing, and CAL FIRE is sharing safety tips leading up to the holiday. 

Since Dec. 12, CAL FIRE has been sharing safety tips as part of a series of social media videos called the 12 days of fire safety. The first slate of videos offers tips on tree safety and holiday lights. 

When it comes to trees and lights for the holiday season, a couple of fact sheets from CAL FIRE share safety tips for picking, placing, and lighting trees along with hanging lights.

Picking the Tree

CAL FIRE recommends choosing a tree with “fresh, green needles” that do not fall off when touched. Once you take the tree home, place it in water as soon as possible. 

“Most trees can go 6-8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water,” CAL FIRE’s fact safety sheet reads. “Don’t bruise the cut surface or get it dirty.” 

The freshly cut trunk must be placed in a bucket that is kept full of water, according to CAL FIRE. 

“Set a reminder on your phone to water your tree daily,” CAL FIRE tweeted on Dec. 13.

Placing the Tree

Once you have your tree, CAL FIRE says to add water to the tree stand daily and cut half an inch from the base of the trunk before placing it in the stand. 

When looking for a space for the tree in your home, CAL FIRE recommends making sure the tree is at least three feet away from heat sources such as a fireplace, radiators, candles, heat vents, or lights.

“In nearly one-fifth of Christmas tree fires, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree,” CAL FIRE tweeted on Dec. 14.

CAL FIRE said lowering the room temperature in your home will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day. Officials also urge to make sure the tree isn’t blocking an exit. 

“Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss problems,” CAL FIRE’s fact sheet reads. “As a general rule, stands should provide one-quarter of water per inch of stem diameter.” 

Lighting the Tree

When decorating the tree with lights, CAL FIRE urges the public to use lights that are labeled by a recognized testing laboratory. According to officials, some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use. 

If there are any broken cords or loose bulb connections on your lights, officials said to replace those strings of lights. CAL FIRE recommends reading the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect. 

Candles that are lit should never be used as a decoration for a tree. 

Holiday lights safety

Lights are a staple during the holidays when it comes to decorating a tree or house, but could be a fire hazard under improper care. 

According to CAL FIRE, hanging holiday lights by nails, staple guns and metal hooks can pierce the wire coating, which can cause an electrical fire.

After your tree is decked out with lights and ornaments, CAL FIRE recommended the following to prevent a fire: 

  • Turn off lights and trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could short and start a fire. 
  • Do not overload outlets or run extension cords under carpets, across doorways, on or under heaters, or pinched behind furniture. 
  • Only use lights (both indoor and outdoor) that have been tested for safety — these can be identified by the “UL” label from Underwriters Laboratories. 
  • Check the labels of outdoor lights to make sure they are waterproof. Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm support to protect from wind damage. 
  • Use no more than three sets of lights per single extension cord. 

Officials also say to keep “bubbling” lights away from children because these lights are hazardous due to their bright colors. CAL FIRE says that the bubbling movement of the lights “can tempt curious children to break the glass which can cut, or tempt them to drink the bubbling liquid” which contains a hazardous chemical. 

Officials also don’t recommend using electric lights on a metallic tree.

“Although safe when used according to manufacturer’s directions, metallic trees can become charged with electricity from faulty lights-any person touching a branch could be electrocuted,” CAL FIRE’s fact sheet reads. “To avoid this danger, use colored spotlight above or beside a tree — never fastened to it.”