Live tree reminder issued

SALEM – The Salem Fire Department is reminding businesses, organizations and churches that live Christmas trees are forbidden in most public places, including the hallways or lobbies of apartment buildings.

Inspector Mike Burns said the department had received three phone calls in the last two days from churches wanting to know if they were allowed to have a live tree.

He thought it might be a good idea to issue a press release to remind people about Ohio Fire Code regarding live vegetation.

“We wanted to make sure people know where they can and can’t put live trees,” he said.

According to the fire department press release, live Christmas trees are not permitted in the following places: churches, schools, restaurants, bars or taverns, banquet halls, theaters, libraries, day care facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, convalescent facilities, group homes, department stores, drug stores, markets, retail stores, funeral homes, skating rinks and other places of amusement.

Lives trees are permitted in individual apartments and homes, but can’t be placed in hallways or lobbies of apartment buildings.

The press release included safety tips for people using live trees where permitted:

– cut at least one half inch off of the tree trunk above the original cut

– make sure the tree stand is adequate for the size of the tree to avoid the tree tipping over

– check every day to make sure the tree stand is full of water

– use only UL-approved light sets free of fraying or broken bulbs

– do not use candles on live trees and keep the tree away from heat vents and any open flame or heat-producing devices at least equal to the height of the tree.

According to the fire code, a tree should be removed whenever the needles or leaves fall off readily when a tree branch is skaken or if the needles are brittle and break when bent.