Preventing Holiday Fires - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Preventing Holiday Fires

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The holidays are a time for cozy fires and home cooked food, but if you're not careful, cozy can quickly turn into chaos.

"Normally during the winter months you see about a 30-38% increase in home fires," said Erie State Farm agent Chris Wertz.

The holidays have the highest volume of fires during the entire year, and the causes come from a variety of everyday activities. "Children playing with fire, wood burners, fireplaces... many people think it's okay to throw wrapping and everything into a fireplace, it doesn't burn evenly," said Wertz.  

"Nationwide there's roughly 250 fires around the holiday season caused by Christmas trees alone," said Jeff Carroll, Deputy Chief at the Erie Fire Department. He said tree fires often start by faulty lights, or from using multiple extension cords.

Another place fires occur in the home is the kitchen. Cooking is the leading cause of fires in the U.S., not just during the holidays. It's a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on hand either in or near the kitchen, so if a fire should occur, you can get it under control before it gets out of hand.

"Grease can get out of hand pretty rapidly and a lot of people would tend to throw water on it which is a no-no," said Carroll, "so it's best to always have an approved extinguisher in your kitchen."

Also, be mindful of space heaters.

"You should always have about a three foot radius from curtains, decorations, paper, and children's toys, unless otherwise noted," Wertz suggested. 

He also said one way to protect yourself is to make sure you have insurance coverage.

"The average cost we're seeing here in the state of Pennsylvania is a little over $30,000 for one small fire," he said, "this is a good time of year to review your homeowner's insurance."

Firefighters say smoke alarms are one of the best ways to ensure your safety.

For more fire safety tips, click here.

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