Don’t let your hol­i­day cheer go up in smoke

The Covington News - - THE SECOND FRONT - STAFF RE­PORTS news@cov­

The hol­i­day sea­son is the time of year when most peo­ple are think­ing about shop­ping for gifts, of­fice par­ties and spend­ing time with fam­ily and friends. Sadly, this is also the time when home fires peak. State Farm spokesman Justin Tom­czak said, “Ap­prox­i­mately one-third of home fires and home fire deaths oc­cur dur­ing De­cem­ber, Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary.”

To help keep your fam­ily and loved ones safer dur­ing the hol­i­day and win­ter sea­son, learn how to avoid th­ese 12 dan­gers:

Cook­ing Calami­ties: While Novem­ber is the top month for grease and cook­ing-re­lated fires, De­cem­ber is a close sec­ond. Unat­tended cook­ing re­mains one of the top causes of home fires. There are a lot of dis­trac­tions and all it takes is a brief moment for a cook­ing fire to get out of con­trol. Keep an all-pur­pose or Class ABC rated fire ex­tin­guisher nearby to get a kitchen fire un­der con­trol.

Space heaters: Home heat­ing equip­ment is sec­ond to cook­ing fires for caus­ing home struc­ture fires. Avoid set­ting up a space heater too closely to cur­tains, fur­ni­ture, or hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions. Re­mem­ber to keep at least three feet of clear space around it and set it up on the floor un­less it is de­signed for other use.

Chil­dren Play­ing with Fire: The num­ber of fires and deaths caused by chil­dren play­ing with fire goes up sig­nif­i­cantly dur­ing the hol­i­days. Never leave chil­dren un­su­per­vised with ig­ni­tion ma­te­ri­als such as matches or lighters.

Burn Wood in the Fire­place: Do not burn trash, card­board boxes or Christ- mas trees in the fire­place. Th­ese items burn un­evenly and may cause a dan­ger­ous flash fire.

Cau­tion with Can­dles: Christ­mas Day is the peak day of the year for can­dle fires. Make sure can­dles are in sta­ble hold­ers and place them where they can­not be eas­ily knocked down. Never leave the house with can­dles burn­ing.

Hol­i­day Lights: In­spect hol­i­day lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots or bro­ken sock­ets be­fore putting them up. Re­mem­ber to turn off hol­i­day lights be­fore leav­ing the home or go­ing to bed.

Coun­ter­feit Elec­tron­ics: Christ­mas lights are the per­fect prod­uct for coun­ter­feit­ing — high vol­ume and low man­u­fac­tur­ing cost. Look for CSA or UL cer­ti­fi­ca­tion marks that in­di­cate the prod­uct was tested and met the prod­uct safety stan­dards.

Elec­tri­cal Out­lets: Don’t over­load your elec­tri­cal out­lets with too many lights or dec­o­ra­tions.

Elec­tri­cal Cords: To re­duce the chance of over­heat­ing, elec­tric cords should never be bun­dled to­gether or run un­der rugs or car­pet.

Christ­mas Trees: Take fire safety pre­cau­tions when keep­ing a live tree in the house. Nee­dles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches. Reg­u­larly give the tree plenty of water.

Dirty Chim­ney: Most chim­ney fires are caused by the buildup of cre­osote, a highly com­bustible by-prod­uct of burn­ing wood. To pro­tect your chim­ney from cre­osote buildup, have it in­spected and cleaned an­nu­ally.

Dirty Fire­place: When clean­ing your fire­place, put em­bers in a metal con­tainer and set them out­side to cool for 24 hours be­fore dis­posal.

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