"If there is a fire, don't try to fight it. Just get out," Fire Marshal Mark Hathaway said. "Make sure to close the door behind you to seal the fire inside."
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking fires are the most common type of fires experienced in U.S. households. USFA says that these fires increase on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
To avoid fires related to cooking, CFD asks everyone to stay alert and never leave the kitchen and stove unattended when preparing those special meals.
Tips issued by the department are as follows:
* Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
* If you are simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you're cooking.
* Stay alert! To prevent cooking fires, you have to be alert. You won't be if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
Cooking not only
concern for possible fires
While incidents related to meal preparation are most common, fires can ignite due to other issues many people may overlook. BCFD warns of these hazards and asks everyone to decorate with care.
According to the USFA, Christmas tree fires are common as well. Firefighters urge local residents to choose their live trees wisely and be sure that needles are green and hard to pull away from the branches. The trunk of the tree should be sticky to the touch because old, dry trees are fire hazards. Live trees should not be put up too early and, according to USFA, should not be left up for more than two weeks.
USFA warns never to display trees of any type near fireplaces or heat vents. The heat will dry out the tree, making it easier to erupt in flames. Keep live trees in a stand filled with water at all times to avoid possible fires.
Holiday lights also are a concern for firefighters. An overloaded electrical outlet can spark and ignite a fire. USFA and BCFD ask that everyone inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear before decorating. To avoid electrical overload, do not link more than three light strands on the same circuit and connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into an outlet.
Using only nonflammable decorations also will prevent fires and never leaving candles unattended are safety tips firefighters ask everyone to keep in mind as well.
According to the USFA, data estimates that 250 residential fires involving Christmas trees and 170 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year.
For more tips on how to celebrate the holidays safely, visit www.usfa.fema.gov or call the Cartersville Fire Prevention Division at 770 -387-5636, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.