FRANKFORT – Holiday cooking, Christmas trees, candles and holiday decorations significantly contribute to the seasonal causes of home fires, said Kentucky State Fire Marshal Bill Swope, director of the state Division of Fire Prevention.
"The holiday season can remain festive and fun by taking preventative steps and following simple rules of thumb to prevent home fires,” said Swope. “My advice is to stay in your kitchen while cooking, consider using flameless candles and follow the rules for placing and lighting your Christmas tree.”
Swope said that most cooking fires involve the stovetop so keep anything that can catch fire away from it, turn off the stove when you leave the kitchen – even if it’s for a short period of time – and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
December is the peak month for home candle fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and Swope recommends giving flameless candles a try. “But if you use traditional candles, keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed. Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle.”
According to NFPA, U.S. fire departments respond to about 230 home fires cause by Christmas trees each year. One of every three is caused by electrical problems and one in five resulted from a heat source that’s too close to the tree. Swope offers the following advice on tree safety:
The Division of Fire Prevention is an agency of the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction within the Public Protection Cabinet.