The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Academy warns of holiday fires

By Bethany Sanderson/reporter

Since the holidays bring a potential for fires or accidents, the NW Fire Academy and the Saginaw Fire Department want everyone to follow common sense to prevent tragedy.The firefighters suggest people take all the usual fire safety precautions. They should develop a home fire escape plan and practice it with their families, making sure escape routes are not blocked. And home and apartment dwellers need to install carbon monoxide detectors where appropriate.

“When you generate smoke, you generate carbon monoxide. It could be deadly,” said Fire Academy coordinator Bill Pearson.

Chimneys, fireplaces and central heating units need to be inspected by professionals, the firefighters recommended.

“When a fireplace is going, wrapping paper burns extremely hot. A house could catch on fire,” Pearson said. “As the paper burns, the coloring in it makes sparks, which go up through the chimney and lands on the roof.”

Saginaw Fire Department Lt. Paul Burns said to also make sure fireplaces have a protected screen.

“One-half of all fire-related deaths occur during the winter months when fireplaces and heating systems are in use,” said Saginaw fire chief Doug Spears.  

All flammable and combustible items should be removed from in front of and around the fireplace and the mantle before starting a fire, the firefighters advised.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, December is the peak month for candle fires. Christmas is the peak day.

Fire personnel said to use only candles in non-tip holders away from greenery, curtains and other flammable items.

“Be careful putting any type of evergreen branches around the house. It burns so quick,” Pearson said.

And people should remember to extinguish candles when leaving a room.

Pearson said, tragic as it can be around Christmas time, many bad fires result from Christmas trees.

“So we discourage people from using real Christmas trees. If they do, put water in the pan,” he said. “Even though a Christmas tree looks green, it is dead.”

Accidents occur or people get hurt or even killed by attempting to put up their own Christmas lights on their homes.

Pearson recommended homeowners hire a professional firefighter who has a part-time job  putting up Christmas lights to ensure safety.

“Getting on the roof doesn’t bother them,” he said.

Burns said another tip during the holiday season is to not overload Christmas lights on one electrical unit.

“Turn Christmas lights out when you go to bed,” he said.

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