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Christmas tree set on fire for Nassau FD safety demo

The Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Educational Center held a demonstration at the Nassau County Fire Service Academy in Old Bethpage on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, to convey to Long Island residents the importance of properly hydrating a natural Christmas tree and what could happen to a tree if it's underwatered. (Credit: Barry Sloan)

There’s nothing quite like setting up a live, aromatic Christmas tree and, as carols play, leisurely decorating it.

But, in a matter of seconds, that image goes up in smoke — literally — if the tree, especially one that’s not well hydrated, catches fire.

To help educate the public to such dangers, volunteer firefighters and others conducted a tree-burning demonstration Monday at the Nassau County Vocational Education and Extension Board Fire Service Academy in Old Bethpage.

The demonstration was to show “the unimaginable rapidity of a dry tree fire and emphasize to the public the urgent need to adequately hydrate their trees and to properly dispose of them,” said a news release from the Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Education Center.

The threat exists, certainly, while the tree is inside a residence, but also after it’s been discarded and moved outdoors, officials said.

John Murray, chief instructor of the firefighter’s museum, shared some tips:

-When shopping, bounce the tree on the ground, and if too many needles come off, keep looking.

-When you get the tree home, make a fresh cut of about one inch off the bottom, and put the tree in water right away, even if it’s staying outdoors for a while.

-Once the tree is inside, fill the tree stand with water every day.

-Also, keep the tree well away from radiators and fireplaces.


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