MCFRS News Release
Holiday Meals and Entertaining Need Time and Attention, Too
Make Safety Count in Montgomery County!
Use Holiday Decorations Wisely and Carefully.
Cooking and candle fires, as well as careless smoking annually cause millions of dollars in damage and injure dozens of residents in Montgomery County. Remember, during the holidays there seems to always be an increased activity in the kitchen especially when entertaining guests. Also be mindful and careful with candles and smoking materials, particularly when guests, pets and small children are present.
- Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires.
- Three in every 10 reported home fires start in the kitchen – more than any other place in the home.
- One-third (34%) of candle fires occurred after candles were left unattended, abandoned or inadequately controlled; Twenty-six (26%) percent occurred when some form of combustible material was left or came too close to the candle; Six percent (6%) were started by people (usually children) playing with the candle.
- The most common material first ignited in residential smoking material-related fires were mattresses and bedding, followed by trash and upholstered furniture.
Following several simple fire safety tips can boost survival rates dramatically. Knowledge is the best fire protection: It is important that all residents know to have a working smoke alarm on each level of a home, have an escape plan (know how to get out quickly) and call the fire department from a safe area, preferably a neighbor’s house.
Safety Tips -
- Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or going to sleep. Keep candles well away from items that can catch fire, such as flammable decorations, clothing, books, paper, curtains, etc.
- Keep candles up high, out of reach, and where they can not be knocked over by children or pets. Remember: A candle is an open flame. It can easily ignite any combustible nearby!
- Be careful with discarded smoking materials. Place ashes in receptacles. We prefer that you don’t smoke.
- Do not smoke if drowsy.
- Remember never discard hot fireplace ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house and all other combustibles.
- Give space heaters space. Keep young children safely away from space heaters -- especially when they are wearing nightgowns or other loose clothing that can be easily ignited.
- If you use an electric space heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. If you must use an extension cord, only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry the amp load.
- Always Remember! If a fire starts in your home GET OUT and call 911 IMMEDIATELY closing the door to the room on fire as you go! DO NOT DELAY as fire doubles in size every minute! GET OUT – STAY OUT!
Cooking Fires - Life-Saving Tips
- Never leave cooking unattended. A serious fire can start in just seconds.
- Always wear short, tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.
- Turn pot handles inward to avoid spills. Always use a potholder when reaching for handles.
- Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames and hot surfaces.
- Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup which can ignite.
- If a fire breaks out while cooking, put a lid on the pan to smother it. You may also use baking soda. Never throw water on a grease fire.
- Heat oil gradually to avoid burns from spattering grease. Use extra caution when preparing deep-fried foods.
- Place a rubber mat on the floor in front of your stove to give you added traction in case liquids or grease spill.
- Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house. Make sure all other appliances are turned off.
- Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Test the batteries every month, and change them at least once a year. (or better yet twice a year when you change your clock)
Celebrate this season safely and wisely.