How to avoid fire hazards this holiday weekend

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) — A blast is absolutely arctic as the weekend is about to kick off and local firefighters want to make sure your gathering doesn’t end up in smoke.

According to data from the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are two of the busiest days of the year for home fires. The Homewood Fire Department said that calls usually increase around the holidays, especially in the cold, so they said you need to be extra careful over the weekend.

Lieutenant Mark Shannon said that because of the bitter conditions ahead, the department will see an increase in calls for broken water pipes and possibly fires from improper home heating. He said no matter how cold it gets this weekend, don’t use your oven or stove to heat your home. The NFPA said using a fireplace without proper ventilation can cause carbon monoxide to leak.

Shannon said space heater fires usually only happen because they’re being used incorrectly. Plugs directly into the wall, not an extension cord, and Shannon said it’s best to get a new cord with flip-flop safety features.

You want to leave a space fireplace at least three feet away from holiday decorations and furniture, the NFPA said, because 20 percent of Christmas tree fires are when the heat source is too close.

“With all the presents around the Christmas tree, make sure you know where the space heater is,” Shannon said. “If it’s three feet from the Christmas tree, then all your family comes over, and they dump your presents around the tree. You don’t want to put your Christmas presents right up against it.”

A few more tips: Don’t leave food cooking unattended in the kitchen during the holidays, don’t leave Christmas lights on all night, and don’t sleep with your space heater on, Shannon said.

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