Take steps to put a freeze on winter fires

            While the sights of decorated homes and beautiful trees can be mesmerizing, the holiday lights as well as other items can also pose as a risk to fires during the holiday season and throughout the year.

            When it comes to household fires, heating has been proven to be the second leading cause of household fires. The peak months are December through February, when homes tend to add in space heaters as a form of heating, followed behind cooking, which also increases during the holiday season.

            Who doesn’t look forward to holiday cooking?  The homemade meals as well as baked goods are part of tradition in many family homes. However, they can lead to fire if not careful. Unattended cooking is the still considered to be the number one reason for household fires. Although cooking brings family and friends together, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) said these gatherings often include adult beverages as well. The NFPA discourages using the stovetop if you have consumed to much alcohol and when you are sleepy. Oven mitts, utensils, food packaging items, curtains and towels can all pose a fire hazard in the kitchen if to close to a stovetop or fire source.

         More than half (56 percent) of home structure fire deaths occurred in November through March according to the NFPA. Almost half (47 percent) of the fires were reported during these five months. This pattern reflects the influence of heating equipment fires and more time spent inside. If events were distributed evenly across the year, there would be 8.3 percent each month or 42 percent over the five-month period. Almost three-quarters of the home heating equipment fires (71 percent) and four of every five heating fire deaths (79 percent) in 2009-2013 were reported in these five months.

            According to the NFPA, space heaters attribute to two out of every five fires during those peak months. This comes from putting heating equipment too close to items that can burn such as bedding, furniture and other easily flammable items. Space heaters should not serve as a main source of heat throughout the home based on the risk they present. 

Please view the December 20 edition of The News-Review for the full story.