All this cold weather means lots of folks will be firing up the heater, lighting a fire, lighting candles and decorating your home. Unfortunately, many of those are the reason the holidays are the busiest home fire season of the year.
Across the nation, some 40 people are killed and another 7,500 people are injured during the winter months due to holiday related decorations or heating. That's why the local American Red Cross chapter wants to remind folks to take extra caution.
Keep candles on flat surface, and don't leave them near windows, decorations, or where children can reach them. When heating your home, keep portable heaters away from anything flammable (at least three feet), have your chimney inspected before lighting a fire and only burn wood, never paper. If you're cooking for a holiday gathering, never leave your kitchen unattended and always keep a working fire extinguisher on hand.
Executive Director of the American Red Cross Texas Panhandle Chapter, Steve Pair, also advised people to make sure their smoke alarms are in good, working condition around this time of year.
"We encourage everyone to replace the batteries on their smoke detectors at least once a year," said Pair. "Right now's the perfect time to go hit that test button, make sure they are working properly and some of them have a carbon monoxide detectors on them too, which is vital as we move into these colder months, with heaters firing up and stuff like that."
The Red Cross helped provide service to some 17 families who suffered a house fire last year during the holidays. If you or someone you know needs assistance from the Red Cross after a home fire, just give them a call at 376-6309.