Before you string your Christmas tree with lights and ornaments, the Philadelphia Fire Department wants you to know the proper way to select, prepare and maintain a fresh cut tree. Follow these nine steps to ensure that your Christmas season stays safe.

When preparing your Christmas tree:

1.Make a 1" 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 (replace if necessary).

5.Make sure your electrical products are Underwriter's Laboratory approved.

6.Never leave a lighted tree unattended.

7.Don't let the tree block exits or stairs.

8.Keep tree away from portable heaters and other heat sources.

9.The tree should be free of ornaments and decorations before disposal.

The Fire Department also reminds residents that they should set their trees out with their trash on their scheduled collection day to dispose of their tree at the end of the season. Trees can also be dropped off to be recycled at one of three Streets Department Sanitation Convenience Center located at Domino Lane and Umbria, State Road and Ashburner and 63rd and Passyunk from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM Monday through Saturday.