Evanston’s Fire & Life Safety Services has issued tips from the National Fire Protection Association for the safe handling of Christmas trees, whether fresh or artificial.

If the tree is fresh, it should have green needles that do not fall off when touched.

If artificial, be sure the tree is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.

Before placing a fresh tree in the stand, cut a couple of inches 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 and that it is not blocking an exit.

Keep that fresh tree well watered so it doesn’t dry out while it is in your home.

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 the manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.

Never use lit candles to decorate the tree and always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

After 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.

City crews will pick up holiday trees beginning Dec. 30 through Jan. 31. Trees will be picked up on the same day of the week as residents’ normal refuse and recycling.

All trees for pickup should be placed on the parkway, in between the street and the sidewalk. They will not be picked up from alleys or private property.

Residents are asked to remove all lights and decorations from trees, and to not place them in plastic bags. These materials can damage equipment used to convert trees into mulch.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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