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Preventing house fires this holiday season

FOX19 -

Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association show that there is a 230% spike in the number of fires and injuries related to cooking on Thanksgiving. 

The Colerain Township Department of Fire and EMS said prevention is the easiest way to lower the risk of fires and keep families safe.

According to Assistant Chief Allen Walls, there may be several reasons for this increase such as the distraction of many visiting family members, guests and friends, or the number of football and basketball games for everyone to watch and enjoy. 

A few simple measures may be taken to help avoid a blaze while cooking this holiday season:

  • Regularly check any food that's baking, roasting or simmering on the stove or oven and use a timer to remind yourself that something is cooking. 
  • Keep things that can catch fire away from the burners - items such as oven mitts, food packaging, towels and curtains. 
  • If you have a small grease fire on the stove top, you can smother the fire by simply covering the skillet or pan with a lid, then turning off the burner to reduce the heat on the pan. Do not use water or flour on a grease fire as either will cause the fire to spread rapidly. 
  • Turkey fryers use a lot of cooking oil at very high temperatures and can easily catch fire or splash hot oil. They should only be used outside the house on the ground and at least 6 feet from the home. 

Not only cooking during the holidays can cause fires, but decorating carelessly puts a home at risk as well. Using precaution when making a home more festive will prevent a fire from sparking. 

Colerain officials said to keep these safety measures in mind when putting up decorations:

  • Check the electrical wiring on any holiday lights before using them outside, inside or on a Christmas tree. 
  • Never use candles without a glass or metal enclosure and place them away from other combustible holiday decorations. When you leave a room, extinguish any candles. Never leave a lit candle unattended. 
  • If you plan to use a live Christmas tree in your home, make sure that it is fresh when you buy it. One indicator of a tree's freshness is checking that the pine needles are pliable, not brittle or falling off. 
  • Never allow decorations to get in the pathway to an escape route in your home. 

For more information contact the Colerain Township Department of Fire at 513-825-6143. 

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