Traverse City Fire Department, Coast Guard Practice Christmas Tree Safety

Watering your real Christmas tree.

It’s simple, but neglecting that tree can cause great destruction.

The Traverse City Fire Department is reminding everyone how to keep their homes safe this holiday season.

9&10’s Caroline Powers and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson take us to a hands-on Christmas exercise involving the fire department and U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City.

“Real trees are great,” says Traverse City Fire Chief Jim Tuller. “I love them, they smell really good in your house, but it’s very important that the tree does not become dry.”

That’s because a dry tree can go up in flames in just 60 just seconds.

“We lit the boxes on fire which got the tree going and it didn’t take long to develop into a pretty good size fire,” says Chief Tuller.

As part of the Coast Guard’s annual safety stand down training, the Traverse City Fire Department showed them how dangerous a dry Christmas tree can be, and why everyone should be watering theirs.

“It’s good to reemphasize a lot of things,” says LCDR. John Walters. “You hear about how fires are started and you think it won’t happen to me, but a lot of times people just forget this time of year. You’re busy, you’re hectic, you’re distracted.”

While it’s important to remember to water your real Christmas tree, the fire department says you also need to know how to respond if it were to catch fire.

“Have somebody call 911, but if it’s a small fire, every house should have a fire extinguisher in it which is called an ABC extinguisher. That covers three classes of fire,” Chief Tuller says.

“Making sure that we are just cognizant of those dangers and taking extra precautions and reiterating those precautions,” says LCDR. Walters.

And the fire department hopes along with the gifts this year, everyone should share what could be lifesaving information with their friends and family.

“The ability to share what they’ve learned here and to spread that knowledge is very important,” says LCDR. Walters.

“If you take the proper safety precautions you can have a nice, safe, fun holiday, nobody gets hurts and it’s a good memory for everybody,” says Chief Tuller.