DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s that time of year again. As temperatures get down into the single digits, it’s time to crank up the heat indoors.
But that seasonal mix of heat, cooking and decorations can be a recipe for disaster.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 30 percent of all home fires and 38 percent of home fire deaths happen during the months of December, January and February.
6 News caught up with Delta Township Fire Inspector Mike Roberts Tuesday to see how you can keep your holidays from going up in flames.
Roberts says a big reason for the increase in house fires during the winter months is that people are spending most of their time indoors.
“Temperatures are getting colder and so people want to use space heaters more and use heating,” Roberts said. “Sometimes they feel like they need to use different devices that aren’t necessarily just your furnace.”
Roberts says it’s always better to rely on your furnace to heat up your home. But if you have to use something like a space heater, they’re precautions you should take.
“Make sure at least three feet of space is between the space heater and any other combustible materials around, and never fall asleep next to a working space heater because space heaters occasionally – when you toss and turn – can be covered with blankets,” Roberts said. “That’s when bad things can happen even with the safeguards that are currently built into space heaters.”
Roberts told 6 News holiday decorations also contribute to the increase in home fires, and the central decoration in many peoples’ homes can be the most dangerous.
“Trees themselves – after they dry out inside your home without water – can be a very big fire hazard,” Roberts said. “There have been several demonstration fires online that you can find that show how dangerous and how fast dry trees – dry pine trees specifically – will actually go.”
Roberts also wants to remind people to keep a close eye on the stove when whipping up meals over the holidays. He says cooking accidents are the number one cause of house fires year round.
Additionally, if you get a generator in case of a winter storm, Roberts says to make sure you keep it outside. Running a generator in your home can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.