Holiday activities can increase fire hazards at home

Christmas trees, bright lights and lots of cooking bring holiday cheer, but they also present increased fire hazards.


Capt. Jack Womack, of the Richmond County Fire Department, has some tips on how residents can stay safe.

"A big thing is space heaters," he said, adding that a good rule is to keep everything 3 feet away from them.

Also, live trees should be kept watered and away from any heat sources, such as fireplaces or candles.

Lt. Carlton Bradley, the head of fire safety education for the Richmond County Fire Department, said that the kitchen is the most hazardous place in the home.

"The big problem with the kitchen is that most people have a habit of leaving things on," he said, noting that food, including turkeys, hams and even crock pots, should never be left unattended while cooking.

Lt. Bradley also said extension cords are the most flammable item in American homes.

Most extension cords are overloaded, he said, despite safety warnings limiting how much amperage can be plugged into the cords.

"Read safety warnings," he said. "You can avoid a lot of danger that way."

Reach Gracie Shepherd at (706) 724-0851 or


- A working smoke alarm reduces the risk of death in a fire by about 50 percent. Most fires happen at night while people are asleep, and the fumes actually lull people into a deeper sleep.

- Live Christmas trees can easily tip over, and dry ones are very flammable. Keep your tree base filled with water. Be sure artificial trees are treated to increase flame resistance.

- Unplug indoor lights before bed or leaving home.

- Clean the oven or stove. The buildup of grease can increase the load on the appliances and can cause a fire.

- Keep lighted candles away from curtains. Make sure they are on a stable surface.

Find other safety tips online at