WASHINGTON — Many are starting to pull out the Christmas decorations and "deck the halls" in preparation for the holidays.
Whether you're a 'head down to your local tree farm to chop down your own tree' type of person, or the 'pull a pre-lit plastic tree right out of the box' type, local fire officials stress the importance of fire safety during the holidays when it comes to your family's Christmas tree.
For real trees, Montgomery County Fire officials said to choose a tree with fresh, green needles that don't fall off when touched. Additionally, they said to keep real trees away from heat sources -- including fire places, no matter how cozy it may seem.
Fire officials also said to water the tree daily to avoid letting the stand become dry. Also, make sure the tree isn't blocking an exit. And if the tree starts dropping needles, get rid of it. Dry trees are a fire hazard and shouldn't be left inside a house, garage or put right near the house.
Between 2013-17, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires that started with a Christmas tree ever year, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association.
For artificial trees, make sure it's labeled, certified or identified by the tree manufacturer as fire retardant.
And whether the tree is real or fake, always make sure the lights and decorations are turned off before bed.