FIRE SAFETY TIPS: Staying safe this Christmas

An apartment fire reported in Canton Township Sunday and a devastating house fire that displaced a young Ravenna family of three early Saturday are just two and three back-to-back fires reported in our area in the past couple of days.

The number of house fires reported is known to increase during the winter months. But with so many house fires occurring so close to the holidays, fire officials are taking time to remind people there are tips you can follow to not only save your home from a fire, but also save a life.

"I think people just don't practice because of the holidays. There's a lot more going on, shopping, making sure all of your Christmas presents are purchased and just celebrations, getting food ready for the holidays and you just forget about the daily things of making sure everything's safe around the house," said Parma Fire Department's public information officer Doug Turner. 

To help remind folks of potential fire dangers, Turner used his own home as an example and walked NewsChannel5 around some areas of potential hazard.

The first item he visited was the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

"You should have one on every floor, but you can't have enough of them. The more in your house the better," said Turner.

He also suggested practicing a fire drill at home when the alarm goes off so that kids, especially, know what to do in case of a fire or carbon monoxide emergency.

Turner's second tip involves flammable items. More specifically, Turner said to keep anything flammable away from:

- Candles
- Christmas lights
- Fireplace

If you own a live Christmas tree, Turner said to make sure you water it so the tree does not dry out and in turn, become flammable itself.

In the kitchen, "… anytime you're cooking around the holidays or anytime during the year, you to make sure that you don't leave the stovetop or the oven unattended," said Turner.  But if you do need to leave, Turner said, "… make sure to take something that's going to remind you that there is cooking on the stove."

For grease fires, Turner noted it's important to NOT put water on the fire but instead, place a lid over the pot to help contain the fire.

Even outside, Turner said there's a few things you can do to prevent a fire. One is checking connections on Christmas lights.

A second, is because careful of where you dispose of those burning embers from your fireplace. Too close to the home, they could potentially start a house fire.

These tips seem easy enough but Turner said most people don't remember to practice them during the holidays.

"Any time we go to a fire and see the damage and the family comes back, it's a tragedy for them so be safe and use common sense, " said Turner. 

For more fire safety tips, you can visit the National Fire Protection Association's website at: www.NFPA.org

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