SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Since Nov. 15, the Savannah Fire Department has responded to seven fires at homes and businesses.
“This time of year, that’s fairly common,” Chief Derik Minard said. “We’re trying to decrease that number through our education programs.”
It’s the season to be jolly, but also fire aware. Chief Minard said there typically are more home fires during the holidays.
Of the recent fires, Minard said most started in the kitchen.
“People are in the festive mood and many people have a lot of people over to their house, they are having conversation, they may have food on the stove or turkey for example that takes a long time to cook, or something in the pan on top of the stove,” Minard said. “And they tend to forget about it and it really is just that simple for a lot of people.”
Minard recommends to keep the area around your stove clear of anything flammable, make sure you turn it off when you leave the house and set a timer when you’re cooking to prevent starting a fire.
A wreath hangs outside Savannah Fire Department headquarters, where a red light is added each time a fire happens during the holidays. The department began doing this on November 15 and will continue to until January 2nd.
Every year nearly 47,000 fires happen and claim more than 500 lives nationwide, according to the American Red Cross. The executive director of the Southeast Georgia chapter said to be mindful when using holiday candles and lights.
“Check all the cords, make sure they’re not frayed, make sure they’re not broken and don’t use too many strings of lights all together. Never use more than three per extension cord.”
As the holidays approach, Center said now is the time to make or review your emergency plan.
“You have two minutes to get out of a burning home,” Center said. “Everyone thinks they have time to grab things and no. If there’s a fire, you need to get out immediately.”
Here are more fire safety tips from the Red Cross and Savannah Fire Department:
- Keep a 3-foot clearance around space heaters and turn them off when not using
- Don’t leave food unattended when cooking
- Test smoke alarms once a month
- Clean up grease, crumbs and spills before using stove
- Don’t use stove or oven to heat your home
You can also call 912-651-6756 to have firefighters install free smoke alarms or batteries in your home.