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Recently the question came up at a workshop about what is allowable for fresh Christmas greens in church decorations.  A call today to the office of the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal’s office clarified a few points on which there has been a little confusion.  The following items  are allowed in decorations:

Wreaths, garlands, cut trees, rootball trees, topiaries, potted plants, pointsettias, windowboxes of mixed greens, swags, pew ends, potted trees, ferns, hollies, laurel, ivies, fresh cut flowers in vases, shrubs, and potted bulbs. 

Outside trees and shrubs may use the old style large electric lights with bulbs similar to a nightlight. Inside electric lights must be the LED type bulbs which give off NO HEAT.  This will be marked on the packaging.  These bulbs come in several styles from the tiny twinkle lights to more fanciful shapes.

 one type of LED bulb

The most concern surrounds the use of live fir-type trees.  It was suggested that the trees should be cut just before decorating day, and not bought off a lot where the cut date is not known.  A plentiful reservoir of fresh water is required and the minute the needles begin to fall, the tree should be taken outside.  Naturally any live green decoration should be kept well away from candles, radiators or any heat source.  Trees should be in an ample container which is well-balanced and placed on a flat floor surface. Trees and any other Christmas decoration should not obstruct exits, stairs or aisles, and all live greens should be kept watered frequently throughout the days of Christmas.   If you have any questions about “safe greens” for Christmas decorating, please call the Office of the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal at 401-462-4200. 

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