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December 10, 2013

Winter is busy time for fire departments

London FD offers fire prevention tips

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — It’s hard to imagine that winter is a busy time for local fire departments. But according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), people are at greater risk for home fires due to the constant preparation of holiday meals, decoration, and use of unclean heat sources.

“The number one rule is making sure your smoke detectors are in good, working order,” said Tony Brown of the London Fire Department. “People often forget to change the batteries.”

While the leading day for home cooking fires – Thanksgiving – has come and gone, continue to take plenty of precautions when preparing holiday meals. Though convenient, unattended cooking is considered risky behavior by the USFA. Frying poses the greatest risk of fire due to the amount of cooking oil used.

Here are a few tips for preventing fires in and around your home now that winter has arrived:

• Make sure your smoke detectors work. Batteries should be changed at least twice a year. Brown recommends doing this when Daylight Savings Time changes.

• If you’re using supplemental or alternative heat sources such as a space heater, make sure nothing flammable is nearby. This includes paper, Christmas decorations and Christmas trees.

• When using a fireplace, double check on its overall cleanliness. This includes the chimney – most fires caused by fireplaces are chimney fires.

• As you’re setting up holiday decorations, be careful not to overload outlets.

• Be sure to keep live Christmas trees hydrated. A dry tree can often serve as perfect kindling.

• Under no circumstances should a candle be left burning – no matter how good it smells.

sbelzer@sentinel-echo.com

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