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Bend Fire Dept. offers holiday fire safety tips


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, b ut for some, tragedy may strike.

“The top fire dangers of the holiday season include kitchen fires, cooking fires, fires from heating devices,” Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe said Thursday. “(Some) of the most brutal ones are the Christmas tree fires.”

Between 2012 and 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 170 house fires started by a Christmas tree each year. One of every 45 resulted in a death.

Cooking and kitchen fires, however, are the No. 1 cause of fires during the holiday season.

“Also, very important: Never leave cooking unattended. That’s the leading cause of fires is when it’s unattended,” Howe said.

Other causes of fires at this time of year are dried-out Christmas trees, open flames from candles, overloaded extension cords, flammable materials closer than 36 inches to a fireplace, and space heaters and wall heaters.

“Space heaters, speaking specifically of wall heaters, make sure there’s nothing around or in front of them,” Howe said. “Give them plenty of room, because they are thermostat-controlled and you don’t necessarily know when they are going to come on.”

Some tips are true all year around.

“This is a message we put out year-round, working smoke alarms save lives!” Howe said.

“And the other thing is, a lot of times in the winter vacation, kids like to spend the night at somebody else’s house. Great, have fun, that’s awesome, have a great time. But make sure, as parents, it’s not rude to ask, ‘Oh, by the way, do you guys have working smoke alarms in your house?'” Howe added.

He also said to be aware of the smoke alarms and know what each sound means. It could just save your life and the lives of the ones you love.

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