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Throughout the last month, the magic of the holiday season has our community full of lights, decorations, and of course Christmas trees. As celebrations continue, Thomasville Fire Rescue (TFR) would like to share fire safety tips that can keep your family and home safe and full of joy and laughter.

“The safety of our citizens during the holiday season is our number one priority,” said TFR Chief Tim Connell. “Holiday fires can start from something small, such as a candle, or from larger sources such as a family Christmas tree. Taking small safety measures within your home can prevent your festive celebration from turning into unexpected devastation.”

Connell says electrical distribution or lighting equipment is the culprit in 43% of home Christmas tree fires. “Three-quarters of fatalities and two-thirds of related injuries during the holiday season result from fires that started with a Christmas tree,” said Chief Connell. “Live Christmas trees, while beautiful, can become hazardous if not cared for properly. An un-watered Christmas tree can catch fire quickly, burn rapidly, and cause life-changing devastation to your home in a matter of seconds.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve. “During the holiday season, candles can add beauty to the atmosphere of your home, but it is important to not leave burning candles unattended,” said Chief Connell. “More than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles. It is of critical importance to keep lit candles away from decorations and to blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed.”

TFR also cautions citizens to never leave cooking food unattended in their kitchens. It is advised that all food that is simmering, baking, or roasted be monitored regularly. “You should also remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind yourself that you are cooking,” said Chief Connell. “Most cooking fires in the home involve the kitchen stove. If you have a small grease fire on your stovetop, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed,” added Chief Connell.

After the holidays, many people believe that disposing of a live tree comes without risks. However, trees not disposed of properly can be a risk to your home. “It is important that trees are properly disposed of after the holiday season or when they are dry,” said Chief Connell. “Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home, garage, or placed against the outside of the home. The City of Thomasville recycling center is the best place to dispose of undecorated trees after the holidays.”

“TFR urges the community to practice safety so that your holiday celebrations are not disrupted by avoidable incidents,” said Chief Connell. “By following simple safety tips, our community can enjoy the beauty of the holiday season.”

For more information on fire safety, please visit, @OfficialThomasvilleFireRescue on Facebook or call Thomasville Fire Rescue at 229-227-4099.