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Fire Department Offers Safety Guidelines for Holiday Decorations

Holiday trees can be one of the most flammable items to be found in the home or business, states the Pasadena Fire Department. Once ignited, a dry tree will appear to literally "explode" and be totally consumed, except for the trunk, in a matter of seconds.

The Uniform Fire Code and Title 19, California Code of Regulations, Section 3.08 require that holiday trees be treated with a flame-retardant solution or process approved by the State Fire Marshal when placed in any area where the public may gather.

The Pasadena Fire Department requires that the following regulations be observed regarding the use of holiday trees in areas of public assemblage, schools, institutions, retail stores, public areas in hotels, apartment houses, and office buildings.

  • Flame retardant, applied by an operator licensed by the California State Fire Marshal's Office, is required for all holiday trees in public buildings.
  • Per fire code, trees and other decorations cannot block or obstruct any exit way or pedestrian path of travel.
  • The tree shall bear a tag approved by the California State Fire Marshal's Office indicating the date, type of retardant, name of the concern that applied the retardant, and the license number.
  • Candles are prohibited on holiday trees and wreaths.
  • Wreaths must be properly treated with a flame retardant approved by the State Fire Marshal's Office and so tagged.
  • The support device that holds the tree in an upright position shall be of a type that is stable and is of adequate size to avoid tipping over of the tree and is capable of containing enough water to cover at least two inches of the tree stem.
  • The butt or bottom of the trunk of the holiday tree shall be immersed in at least two-inches of water at all times.
  • Immediately prior to such immersion, the trunk shall be cut off at least one-inch above the original cut.
  • No readily combustible materials shall be placed on, under, or within four-feet of the maximum horizontal projection of any holiday tree (including live specimens).
  • No holiday tree or decoration shall be displayed in such a manner as to impede or affect any exit.
  • No holiday tree shall be displayed for a period of more than 30 days.
  • Only use electrical lights that are UL listed for use on indoor trees.

The Fire Department recommends that low heat mini-lights be used for all trees.

For more information call (626) 744-7276.


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