TUCSON – The weather is cooling off in Southern Arizona and many residents are breaking out the heaters and putting holiday decorations around the house. This could be a recipe for Christmas chaos.
Tucson resident Adam Hawkinson does not use his fireplace much, but when he does he says he makes sure he is taking the proper steps to be safe.
“Make sure I clean it every time before and after I use it,” said Hawkinson. “Aside from that, I just make sure I always have a fire extinguisher on deck. That and have a skirt or a screen over it and never leave it unattended.”
Tucson Fire Department (TFD) spokesperson, Jessica Notle, says it is important to keep anything that can burn at least 2 ft. away from heating equipment. That means fireplaces, space heaters, and any other heat source.
“This time of year, home fires can usually be tied to two or three sources,” said Nolte. “Some of it’s cooking in the kitchen. Either left unattended or not properly given clearance to cook around. Other heating sources or elements like portable heaters, fireplaces, furnaces.”
She says another big cause of house fires is candles. Be sure to keep candles high enough where pets or children cannot knock them over and TFD says residents should blow them out when they are not in the room.
Plus now is the time Christmas decorations are going up.
“Dry Christmas trees, when they do catch fire, they can be very serious,” Nolte said. “So that raises the importance of making sure you water it every single day.”
And check every light that is put inside or outside the house. Nolte says to make sure there are no exposed wires and do not overload electrical outlets.
“The lights are the culprit,” Nolte said. “If they weren’t in the bush, would it have caught fire? So it’s about making sure what you’re putting in there is in good condition.”
Also, it is important to test smoke alarms now.
And TFD wants to remind people who love to decorate not to block any exits or cause any hazards with electrical cords.
Nolte says to never leave a space heater on when leaving the room or going to sleep.