Jimmy Patronis: Floridians Need to Be Safe With Fires This Holiday Season

Last week, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis urged Floridians to follow important fire safety tips to ensure a safe holiday season.

Many holiday related fires start in the kitchen with cooking related accidents and holiday decorations can be a major fire hazard if the proper safety precautions are not taken. As winter approaches and temperatures begin to drop around the state, it’s also important to be cautious when using wood burning stoves, space heaters and fireplaces. According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), one in every seven home fires and one in every five home fire fatalities involves heating equipment.

“As Floridians gather with family and loved ones this holiday season, it’s important to follow fire safety tips to ensure your holidays don’t turn tragic. It’s vital that you always keep safety top of mind when entertaining, cooking, decorating, and using heating equipment during the holidays. While Christmas trees can be an important part of the holiday season for many Floridians, it is also critical that you properly water and dispose of your tree to prevent possible fire-related incidents. The holidays are a very special time of year and by keeping safety at the forefront, you can ensure a safe and joyous time for you and your family,” Patronis said.

Top Fire Safety Tips From the NFPA

• Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.

• Keep children away from the stove when cooking. The stove will be hot and kids should stay at least three feet away.

• Never leave tree lights on overnight or while you are out. Not unplugging lighting can be an accident waiting to happen. Additionally, always purchase lights that have been accepted by a national testing organization.

• Always water your Christmas tree. A dry Christmas tree can burn very hot and very fast and make sure to get rid of your tree after Christmas or when it is dry.

• Do not store your tree in the home or garage. A dry tree can pose a serious fire risk when left in a garage or car port. Do not place your tree against the home before disposal.

• Half of home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.

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