Rural/Metro Fire Department offers safety tips for the holidays
The holidays are a wonderful time of year with the gathering of family and friends to celebrate the true blessings in life. Our number one priority at Rural/Metro Fire Department is to ensure the safety of the public we are so proud to serve. As the holidays approach, we would like to remind everyone to keep safety at the forefront while preparing meals, as the number of cooking related fires increases to roughly three times the daily average during this time.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Hundreds of Americans are killed each year due to cooking accidents and thousands more are injured. In addition to the unfortunate injuries and deaths which occur every year, the loss in property damage to the home has a devastating impact both personally and financially.
The NFPA offers the following safety tips for cooking:
Check your smoke alarms
- Make sure all your smoke alarms are working. If they haven’t been tested in a while, replace the batteries.
Stand by your pan
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.
- If you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that the stove or oven is on.
- Keep in mind that you should avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Loose clothing can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
No kids allowed
- Keep kids away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid free zone” of 3 feet around the stove.
- If you have young children, use the stove’s back burners whenever possible, and turn pot handles inward to reduce the risk that pots with hot contents will be knocked over.
- Never hold a small child while cooking.
Keep it clean
- Keep anything that can catch fire-pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains-away from your stove top.
- Clean up food and grease from burners and the stovetop.
- Dispose of used cooking oil from Turkey fryers properly at your Household Hazardous Waste site.
Deep Frying Turkeys
- Never cook your deep fried turkey indoors, on a deck or in a closed area. Cook it outside on a non-combustible and level surface away from any buildings.
- Do not overfill the fryer with oil. Once the turkey is lowered into the fryer it will displace the hot oil and can cause a serious fire and burns.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry. Dropping a partially frozen or wet turkey into the fryer can cause a significant spill and fire
- Do not leave your turkey unattended, ever! Check the oil temperature frequently so it doesn’t overheat.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby (ABC or K rated). Never use water or ice to cool or extinguish a grease fire as that will only cause more hot oil to spill out.
Christmas tree safety tips:
Each year, fire departments respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Carefully decorating Christmas trees can help make your holidays safer.
Picking the tree
- If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
- Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
Placing the tree
- Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1–2” from the base of the trunk.
- Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
- Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
Lighting the tree
- Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
Rural/Metro would like to thank you for allowing Rural/Metro Fire Department to be your emergency services provider and we hope these tips provide useful information to ensure that everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season.
Rural/Metro is a subscription-based emergency response service, which has served Sahuarita since 1974. To learn more about Rural/Metro services and to subscribe for fire and emergency medical services, visit Rural/Metro online at ruralmetrofire.com or call (520) 297-3600.