TAVARES – While holiday lights, candles and turkey all seem essential components of the season, some may present potential fire hazards that can turn festivities in tragedies.
Between 2007 and 2011, one of every 40 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
“Many Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems, so it is important to ensure that lights feature the label of an independent testing laboratory, are in good condition and are turned off before going to bed,” said Loretta Krzastek, Chief Fire Inspector/Plans Examiner with the Lake County Building Division. “Christmas tree fires occur more frequently during the 20 days following Christmas, so be sure to dispose of your tree when it becomes dry and brittle.”
Two out of every five fires caused by home decorations are started by candles, according to the NFPA, with Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day as the top three days of the year for candle fires.
“It is important to keep decorations, drapes and anything flammable at a safe distance from candles, never leave candles unattended and blow them out before bed every night,” said Krzastek.
However, not all fires start inside the home. Lake County’s Public Safety Department also urges residents to take great care when deep frying turkeys outside.
“Deep frying turkeys should only ever occur outdoors and away from structures,” said Lake County Fire Rescue Public Safety Assistant Chief Jim Dickerson. “Follow the proper protocol for frying the turkey, such as taking correct oil measurements, thawing the turkey before frying and using a thermometer to judge the proper cooking temperature of the oil.”
Whether done inside or out, cooking is the leading cause of all winter home fires, according to the NFPA.
For more tips on holiday fire safety, visit www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/holidays/put-a-freeze-on-winter-fires.