As we move closer to winter and home fire deaths begin to increase, the Geneva Fire Department reminds you that fire safety and prevention are especially important in the coming months—because home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season.
“These fires are a painful reminder of what we see every year—the temperatures drop and fires increase,” said DC Jerry Koster.
Space heaters account for about one-third of home-heating fires and approximately 80 percent of the home-heating fire deaths.
The United States Fire Administration reports that each winter an estimated 108,400 residential building fires occur in the United States, resulting in 945 deaths, 3,825 injuries, and more than $1 billion in property loss. Cooking is the leading cause of winter residential building fires which are followed by faulty heating as a source. Winter residential building fires occur mainly in the early evening hours, peaking from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Here are a few winter fire-safety tips:
Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period, turn off the stove.
Avoid using lighted candles. If you must use candles, place them in sturdy candleholders that won’t burn.
Space heaters need space; keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from each heater.
Check electrical cords often and replace cracked or damaged electrical or extension cords. Do not try to repair them.
Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home. They are not designed for this purpose and can be a fire hazard. In addition, carbon monoxide (CO) gas might kill people and pets.
Do not put your live Christmas tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
If you smoke, use only fire-safe cigarettes and smoke outside.
“Winter fires are preventable,” Koster emphasized. “Everyone should find out what they need to knowto prevent a tragedy and have a safe winter season.”
For more information about the causes of winter fires, winter storm fire safety, holiday fires afety, and tips that will help prevent the incidence of fire in the home, visit the USFA website atwww.usfa.fema.gov/winter, or call the Geneva Fire Department at (630) 232-2530, Ext. 2067.
The eneva Fire Department is available for small presentations tailored to your group or organization.