Ask Liz: Christmas Trees, Highway Speeds & Coffee Cream

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Ask Liz: 10-31-08

    How can you prevent your Christmas tree from becoming a fire hazard in your home? We checked with the National Christmas Tree Association:

    • Keep your tree hydrated. Once you get home, place the tree in water as soon as possible -- no later than 8 hours after the trunk is cut.
    • As a general rule, there should be one quart of water per inch of stem diameter in your Christmas tree stand.
    • Check the water level often. Some trees may take in a lot of water, especially within the first few days.
    • Keep your tree away from sources of heat such as fireplaces, heat vents, and direct sunlight.
    • Turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or going to bed.

    A viewer says he sees signs on the highways that say, "speed enforced by aircraft". How does this work? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says:

    • Officers in aircrafts can measure vehicle speeds based on the time it takes for your car to travel between pavement markings on the road.
    • When a trooper in an aircraft picks out a traffic offender, he determines the car’s speed and then radios that information to an officer on the ground.
    • That officer can then pull you over and write you a citation for speeding.

    Why don’t individual packs of coffee cream need to be refrigerated? Coffee cream manufacturer Coffee-mate had this answer:

    • Individual packs of coffee cream don’t need to be refrigerated because they are packaged at a high heat.
    • When products like coffee cream are packaged in this way, they are said to be "shelf stable" which means that you don’t have to refrigerate them.
    • However, once the container is opened and exposed to air, you will need to refrigerate it.

    Got a question for "Ask Liz"? Send any consumer questions to askliz@nbcwashington.com.