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Holiday Fire Safety tips from WMFD

Hazards abound with Thanksgiving, Christmas season

Hazards abound with Thanksgiving, Christmas season

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Hazards abound with Thanksgiving, Christmas season

By JOHN RECH

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The West Memphis Fire Department issued a holiday safety bulletin. Fire Marshal Division Chief Patricia Roberts provided a gambit of safety tips from Thanksgiving turkey cooking to Christmas tree and holiday lighting safety.

“During this time of year as the weather gets colder, residents are using all types of heating appliances, fire places, heaters, electric blankets, and candles to stay warm,” said Roberts. “The leading cause of home fires and the second leading cause to home fire related deaths is unattended cooking. Almost 30 percent of people killed by cooking fire were sleeping at the time.”

According to the National Fire Protections Association Thanksgiving is the most common day for home cooking fires. Christmas day and Christmas Eve ranked right behind turkey day for kitchen fires.

Thanksgiving safety tips included:

■ ■ Stand by your pan. Never leave anything cooking unattended. If a

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grease _re starts smother the ames by sliding the lid over the pan while wearing an oven mitt. Remove the pan from the burner. Turn the burner off. In case of a bigger _re, leave the kitchen, close the door behind you to try to contain the _re, get out of the house and call 911.

■ Stay home while cooking the turkey and check on it frequently.

■ Kids and pets should be kept three feet away from the stove. Keep them away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee can cause serious burns.

■ Keep the counter clear of electrical cords, and ammable items like towels, oven mitts food packaging and wooden utensils.

■ Keep knives out of reach of children. keep matches and lighters out of reach of kids – up high in a locked cabinet.

■ Keep the kitchen and dining room oor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, purses or bags while handling food.

■ Up before dawn to start cooking or tempted to sip and serve? Don’t cook while sleepy or impaired.

■ Test your smoke alarm. The West Memphis Fire department will install one smoke detector in some homes.

“The smoke detector program is only for homeowners, not landlords or renters in West Memphis,” said Roberts. “Every year the WMFD gets a grant from the State Fire Marshal of_ce for 100 smoke detectors. The homeowner may call 870732-7570.”

A regional favorite, deep fried turkey, delivers elevated safety concerns. The burner stand should be on a level surface outdoors and at least ten feet away from structures including porches. Never drop a frozen bird into boiling grease. Turkeys should be completely thawed and dried before being placed in the deep fryer to avoid are-up. Watch out for rain. If rainwater hits the 350-degree cooking oil it could splatter or turn to steam leading to burns.

The NFPA offered tweaks to those preferring the deepfried Tom taste. Look for grocer deli’s, specialty food retailers or restaurant carry- out for deep fried turkey. New types of oil-less turkey friers are on the market.

Christmas Decoration safety tips.

“As you deck the halls this holiday season, be _re smart,” said Roberts. ‘’A small _re that spread to a Christmas tree can grow large very quickly.”

■ Pick a cut tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. When placing a live tree, cut two inches from the base of the trunk. Add water to the tree stand. Add water daily.

■ Place the tree at least three feet from any heat source like _replaces, radiators, heat vents or candles. One Christmas season _re in _ve was caused by decorations being too close to a heat source.

■ Test and inspect light strings. One third of home Christmas _res were caused by electrical problems. Use lights listed by a quali_ed testing laboratory. Replace any strands of lights that have loose bulbs or connections, or are worn, broken or frayed. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for maximum number of light strands to connect.

■ Caution with candles. Never leave burning candles unattended. Snuff all candles before falling asleep or leaving the house. Never use candles on a Christmas tree.

■ Fireplace safety means making sure garland and stockings don’t hang in front of the _rebox. Keep the _replace screen or glass front pulled to.

■ Always turn off lights before going to bed or leaving home.

And be sure to get rid of that live cut Christmas tree when it becomes dry. Dried out trees should not be left in the home, garage or leaning on the house. Chief Roberts reminded residents that burning the evergreens, yard trash and other refuse is never allowed in the city.

“It has to be hauled off by the Sanitation Department or carried to the West Memphis land _ll,” said Roberts.

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