Walker County wildfire

The holiday season is full of so much rush and excitement, people can easily forget about the importance of winter fire safety.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, December has more house fires around the U.S. than any other month. Some of the leading causes for these fires are decorations, cooking and heating.

Whether it’s a big breakfast feast or a traditional turkey dinner, the kitchen becomes one of the busiest parts of the house on Christmas Day.

However, cooking is the leading cause of house fires in the U.S., according to the NFPA. Christmas is the second leading day for home cooking fires in the U.S. and Christmas Eve is just behind it. The biggest cause for these fires is unattended cooking.

With all of the Christmas hustle and bustle, a person could easily get distracted from cooking. Make sure to turn off the burners when you’re finished cooking and to empty the oven when you leave the house.

While candles might literally brighten the home up, it’s also a fire hazard. The NFPA states that December is peak candle fire season. To prevent a candle fire from happening, make sure any flammable items are kept at least three feet away.

In addition to candles, make sure you limit your extension cord use. According to Rome-Floyd Fire Marshal Mary Catherine Chewning, extension cords can easily overheat after being plugged in for extended periods of time and cause an electrical fire.

The Christmas tree has become one of the main symbols of the winter season and if not taken care of properly, can result in a hazardous fire.

“Make sure your trees get plenty of water or they’ll dry up and catch fire easily,” Chewning said.

If you have string lights on your tree, make sure to unplug them when you leave your house or go to bed. Similar to the extension cords, the lights can catch fire if plugged in for too long.

As everyone knows, winter temperatures in Georgia fluctuate, but stays chilly more often than not. Because of this, heating equipment is yet another major cause of house fires in the U.S. every year.

“You need to keep combustible materials at least three feet away from any heating source,” Chewning said.

Combustible items can be pillows, blankets, mattresses or any other soft item.

According to Chewning, space heaters can easily cause a house fire if used improperly. Keep space heaters plugged directly into the wall and do not use power strips or extension cords.

If you have a fireplace, make sure the fire and coals are completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.

Along with all of these helpful tips, Chewning also recommends getting a fire extinguisher to keep in your home and to make sure all smoke alarms are working properly.

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