Ed Paulk, State Fire Marshal for Alabama points out several reasons fire are prevalent this time of year, including more people being
in the home, more cooking going on than usual, homes sitting empty during vacations, and decorations like candles and live Christmas trees.
"People using live Christmas trees need to remember that those have been up for a while now. Most people put them up during Thanksgiving,
and we try to keep them going until the first of the year. But, as soon as Christmas is over, you need to get that tree out of the house. You can leave the other decorations up, but I would recommend taking the tree out; just don't take that risk. If they're not properly taken care of, they can dry up and become extremely ignitable. They produce tremendous amount of BTUs, and they burn very quickly," added Paulk.
So far in 2014, Alabama has seen 86 fire-related deaths, which is 4 more than in 2013. Paulk said part of the reason was the extreme
cold in the beginning of 2014. During the month of January, 28 people died in house fires. Many of them, Paulk recalled, were started by improper use of heaters and ovens.
In addition to the safety tips regarding live Christmas trees, fire officials remind people not to leave candles burning unattended.
As the temperatures drop, never use a space heater overnight. When you do use space heaters, make sure they're far away from curtains, furniture, and bedding. Also, never use your oven to heat your home.
Here, you'll find a link to the State Fire Marshal's website. There are fire safety plans and videos on how to create a family fire
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