Guidelines for Christmas Tree Safety

All “cut” formerly live Christmas trees on Campus, regardless of size, must be treated with a flame-retardant chemical approved by the State Fire Marshal (SFM). Cut trees must display evidence of SFM certification for flame retardant treatment. Compliance with these regulations is mandatory in all indoor areas, as a dry Christmas tree exposed to an ignition source becomes an instant torch. Most local tree vendors are licensed by the SFM to apply a flame-retardant solution. Live trees in a pot with soil are exempt from this process.

If you are planning to have a cut tree in your office space or building, the following precautions will help to ensure a safe holiday:

  • Cut trees must be displayed in a water filled, non-tip stand – not on the Christmas tree wood stands provided by the Christmas tree lots.
  • Fasten trees securely to keep them from overturning.
  • Be sure trees do not block exits.
  • All trees must be removed before New Year’s Day.
  • Do not use ignition sources such as candles, lamps, lighters or electrical appliances near trees.
  • Use only UL listed electric lights and appliances. (Exception: Never use electric lights or appliances on metal trees.) Replace any sets of electric lights that are worn or have loose connections.
  • Do not use cellophane. There is no way to make it flameproof.
  • Do not use cotton batting or paper decorations unless they have been treated with retardant.
  • If there is a fire, pull the building fire alarm and call 9-911 to report the location immediately .
  • If fire extinguishers cannot control the blaze, walk, do not run, to the nearest exit and get out!

Guidelines for Portable Electric Heater Usage

Portable electric heaters constitute a potential fire hazard. Too often they are left on inadvertently, or placed on desks or shelves in the proximity of combustible items, which may result in a fire. These types of heaters can also overload building circuits, which may also cause fires. Facilities Management, EH&S and the Campus Fire Marshal strongly discourage the use of these appliances.

Facilities Management strives to maintain proper building temperatures. If your building is too cold, please contact Facilities Management so they can fix the problem. In the event that existing building systems cannot provide a comfortable temperature range, the use of a personal heater will be permitted after an electrical safety inspection is performed by Environmental Health and Safety.

To ensure the safest use of portable heaters, please follow these guidelines:

  1. Keep all combustible materials a minimum of 3 feet away from the heater.
  2. Place heaters only on the floor.
  3. All heaters must be UL listed and have a tip - over switch (a device which automatically turns off the power if the heater tips over).
  4. The heater should be plugged directly into an electrical wall outlet without the use of an extension cord or power strip.
  5. Please turn off AND unplug the heater when you leave the room or the area.


If You Have Any Questions or to Schedule an Inspection, Please Call (805) 893-5848.