Firefighters urge vigilance in preventing holiday home fires

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — As overnight temperatures get colder and the holidays draw nearer, firefighters urge everyone to be fire-wise this winter.

According to the American Red Cross, fires kill more people each year than any other kind of natural disaster. Firefighters tend to field more calls for help in the colder months.

The first line of defense in a house fire is smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

β€œ[People] actually need to have [a smoke detector] in each bedroom, one in the egress to the bedrooms and one on each level of the house,” Westview-Fairforest Fire Department Assistant Chief Tracy Williams said. Williams recommends installing at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of a home.

If you’re unsure whether your smoke or carbon monoxide detector works, you can call your local fire department. Crews will analyze your detectors for free.

Many firefighters blame five key culprits for house fires: cooking accidents, electrical malfunctions, heating malfunctions, smoking and using candles. To prevent fires, experts recommend leaving at least three feet of space between heaters, candles or live flames and the next closest object.

However, Williams said, holiday trees can cause problems, too.

β€œThere’s nothing wrong with them, but if you use them, you need to make sure that you maintain them,” he said. “Keep plenty of water in them. Keep them fresh. Once you notice the bristles on the tree, if they look like they’re drying out, then you need to replace that tree.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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