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Cookeville Fire Chief: Fire Hazards Making Holiday Season Risky

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville Fire Chief: Fire Hazards Making Holiday Season Risky

Practicing proper fire safety becomes even more important given additional risks during the holiday season.

Cookeville Fire Chief Benton Young said December and January are the busiest months for his department. Young said flammable decorations and distracted Christmas dinner cooks are the most common causes of house fires.

“December 24 and 25 around the holidays there are some of the highest for unattended cooking fires we have over the year,” Young said. “Also, your candle fires. They peak in December and January.”

Young said Christmas lights are a common fire starter as well. Young said people should watch for frayed wires on their lights and read instructions to avoid overloading power outlets and starting a fire.

Young also said live Christmas trees need to be watered daily to limit their flammability.

“A dried-out Christmas tree can be very flammable and it doesn’t take much to catch that on fire,” Young said. “Most of your artificial trees have some type of flame retardant built into them. You want to make sure your tree is at least three feet away from heat sources like your fireplaces or space heaters or candles or anything like that.”

Roughly 11 percent of candle fires happen in December and January, Young said. Young said candles should be kept in a stable holder, at least a foot away from any flammable material. Young said flameless candles that still look and smell like real candles can be an equally festive, but safer alternative.

Young said many families bring pine cones and other highly flammable materials into their homes to decorate, but doing so requires extra attention to open flames and heat.

Distractions are common this time of year, meaning cooking can be a risk, Young said.

“Always, when you’re cooking, stay with it until it’s done,” Young said. “Don’t run off and do anything else. Don’t get distracted. Stay with that or if you have to leave for something, turn it off and take it off the eye.”


The post Cookeville Fire Chief: Fire Hazards Making Holiday Season Risky appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.