Last updated: June 01. 2013 12:45PM - 218 Views
Anthony Gonzalez
Staff Writer

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The holiday season is a time when there is an increased risk of home fires.

The National Fire Protection Association says you need to be prepared for a fire-safe season. So does a local fire chief.

“Many people simply don’t know which activities and practices present hazards,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of communications. “‘Parents need to protect their families, particularly those with young children, who are at greater risk to fires.”

The sentiment was echoed by Elkin Fire Chief Tommy Wheeler who said some of the risks are obvious.

“Make sure your extension cords are inspected for defect and rated for what you’re using them for,” said Wheeler.

“Candles pose a great risk too,” blew the chief. “Everybody likes candles, but they don’t turn off when you leave a room. Please keep all candles away from combustibles too.”

According to information by the NFPA and local first responders, many holiday traditions and festivities – from candle decorations and cooking to Christmas trees and holiday lighting – significantly contribute to the season’s increased risks:

· December is the peak month for home candle fires. Almost half of all home decoration fires were started by candles.

· Although Christmas tree fires aren’t common, when they do occur, they’re more likely to be serious.

· A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in five associated fires, with one of every three home Christmas tree fires caused by electrical problems.

· Almost half of all holiday lighting fires occur in December. Electrical failures or malfunctions were a factor in two-thirds (69 percent) of these fires.

· Cooking is the leading cause of home fires; unattended cooking is the leading cause.

Reach Anthony Gonzalez by calling 835-1513 or email at agonzalez@heartlandpublications.com.

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