Don't torch your tree

Christmas trees can burn quicker than a kid can rip wrap off a gift. So Philly Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers wants everyone to know the best ways to keep your tree fire-free. Here's the commish's list: 

1. Make a 1-inch fresh cut at the base of the tree.
2. Place the tree firmly in the stand with plenty of room for water.
3. Check water level daily and add if needed.
4. Check electrical cords for wear, and outlets for overloading.
5. Never leave a lighted tree unattended.
6. Don’t let the tree block exits or stairs.
7. Keep the tree away from portable heaters and other heat sources.
8. Remove all ornaments and decorations before disposal.

Firefighters will distribute 20,000 tree tags, donated by the University of Pennsylvania, with these safety tips to city residents at Christmas tree lots throughout Philadelphia.

By the way, when all the holiday hubbub subsides and you're trashing your tree, make sure to set it out with your garbage on your scheduled collection day. Green-minded citizens who want to recycle their trees can take them to three Streets Department Sanitation Convenience Centers located at Domino Lane and Umbria, State Road and Ashburner and 63rd and Passyunk from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.