The Schenectady Fire Department is warning that the holidays carry an especially high home fire risk, between cooking, Christmas trees and candles.
“As everyone gets busier during the holidays, we often become rushed, distracted, or tired,” said Fire Chief Michael Della Rocco. “That’s when home fires are more likely to occur.”
With unattended cooking the leading cause of U.S. home fires and home fire injuries, Della Rocco urged cooks to stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. Most cooking fires involve the stovetop, he said, so keep anything that can catch fire away from it, and turn off the stove when leaving the kitchen.
When simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, he said, check it regularly and use a timer as a reminder that it is cooking.
December is also the peak month for home candle fires.
The Fire Department encourages people to use flameless candles, and if using real candles to keep them at least 12 inches from anything flammable.
The fire prevention officials strongly discourage using candles in the bedroom, and urge that children never be left alone with a candle.
If using a fresh Christmas tree, the Fire Department recommends making sure it is adequately watered and at least three feet from the nearest heat source.
After Christmas, get rid of the tree. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard.
“The holidays can quickly turn from joyful to tragic when a fire occurs,” Della Rocco said. “By taking simple precautions, people can avoid potential fire hazards, and keep this time of year healthy, happy, and safe.”