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News > Holiday fi re, cooking safety can keep your holiday fun
Holiday fi re, cooking safety can keep your holiday fun

Posted 12/19/2012   Updated 12/19/2012 Email story   Print story


by Air Force Staff Sgt. Andrew Truesdale
673d CES

12/19/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- There is no denying the holiday season is in full swing.

Stroll down any street or aisle in any store and you might feel like you are walking in a winter wonderland.

It is the most wonderful time of the year, and to keep it that way, here are some holiday traditions to add to your list and make sure to check them twice.

Rockin' around the Christmas tree is a tradition in many homes. Some homes have beautiful, often messy, fresh trees. Some opt for a beautiful, less messy artificial tree.
The National Fire Protection Association and the U.S. Fire Administration have some suggestions for making the holiday season merry and bright.

Some things to keep in mind while picking out the perfect tree for you: If you decide to go with a fresh tree and top it with the star of the east, make sure the needles are green and tough to pull out of the branch and the trunk is sticky.

If an artificial tree is more your style, pick one that is flame retardant.

To keep the angels we have heard on high singing, make sure your tree is away from a heat source. A fireplace and heating vent will dry out your tree, causing it to easily catch fire. Don't flick or drop cigarette ashes near a tree.

Don't leave a fresh tree up for more than three weeks. Check that the stand is filled with water in the morning and before you go to bed.

However you decide to deck the halls or make room for Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer up on the rooftop, be sure to inspect the lights for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up.

Be careful not to overload electrical outlets and limit strands of lights connected to each other to three.

Choose decorations that are flame retardant, and be sure to keep all of the Christmas shoes and other items clear of all entries and exits.

Candles bright are a beautiful way to decorate, just not on the tree. Make sure candles are in a stable holder on a flat surface. Extinguish candles before going to bed or leaving the house.

And of course, to make sure that Santa baby can hurry down the chimney, have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
Leave glass doors open while burning a fire, closed after the fire has been extinguished. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire are healthy snack of the season and can help give you energy to clean up after the holiday festivities.

Just do not use the tree, or any other holiday decorations to include wrapping paper, to start or fuel the fire. Use seasoned hardwood for fires. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup.

Baby it's cold outside; holiday cooking is not only delicious but it helps warm the house up.

If you are cooking enough food this season to feed the little town of Bethlehem, make sure to stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food.

While simmering, baking (Christmas cookies of course) or boiling any food, be sure to check it regularly.

Make it a Christmas to remember and keep anything that can catch fire - potholders, oven mitts, plastic and wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, and curtains - away from the stovetop.

If you fancy a fried turkey for Christmas dinner, there are some tips to remember: use turkey fryers outdoors at a safe distance from buildings; at no time should a turkey fryer be used in a garage or on a wooden deck, and always be sure fryers are used on a flat surface.

Even if you see mommy kissing Santa Claus, do not leave the turkey fryer unattended.
When prepping the bird, the National Turkey Federation recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.

The bird needs to be completely thawed before putting it in the hot oil. Water will cause the oil to spill over causing a fire.

And of course, keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.

Bells will be ringing, and to help ensure they are not the bells of the fire alarm at your house, always remember - if you have a cooking fire, when in doubt just get out.
Close the door to contain the fire as you leave and call 911.

If you do try to fight the fire, make sure anyone else in the house is getting out and you have a clear path the exit.

Always keep an oven mitt and the lid to the pots and pans you are using to cook with.
If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan carefully.

Turn off the burner and do not move the pan until it is completely cool. If a fire starts in the oven turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

If a fire starts in the microwave, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed until the fire is completely out. If you can safely reach, unplug the appliance.

Enjoy this warm and fuzzy time of the year responsibly.

Even Santa gives up the keys to the sled to ensure grandma doesn't get run over by a reindeer.

From the JBER Fire Department family, we wish you all a happy and safe holiday season, and have yourself a merry little Christmas.

For additional information, feel free to contact our fire prevention office at 552-2620.

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