By STEPHANIE MOJICA
3:01 PM EST, December 15, 2012
Local fire officials typically respond to more emergency calls during the Christmas holiday than any other time of the year and have issued some tips to help keep residents safe during their celebrations.
Many households engage in holiday activities that serve as some of the leading causes of U.S. home fires, including cooking, Christmas trees and candle usage, said Danville Fire Marshal Ken Pflug. Holiday decorations also contribute significantly to the seasonal causes of home fires.
“As everyone gets busier during the holidays, we often become rushed, distracted or tired,” said Pflug. “That’s when home fires are more likely to occur. By taking some preventative steps and following simple rules of thumb, most home fires can be prevented.”
About 50 percent of holiday-related fires are caused by candles, Pflug said. Officials urge residents to consider “flameless” candles.
“But if you use traditional candles, keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed,” said Swope. “Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle.”
Overloaded electrical outlets are another key cause of holiday fires in the region, said Boyle County Fire Chief Donnie Sexton. The Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center in Lexington recommends the following precautions regarding electrical outlets:
Regularly watering live Christmas trees is another important step toward preventing residential fires, according to Sexton. Swope suggests people using live trees also adhere to the following guidelines:
“The holidays can quickly turn from joyful to tragic when a fire occurs,” said Pflug. ”By taking simple precautions, people can avoid potential fire hazards and make this time of year a healthy and happy one.”
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