Additional care, caution needed to prevent fires

We hope readers were paying attention to comments from a pair of veteran area fire fighters in a story that ran over the weekend about fire safety.

Negaunee Township Fire Chief Jeff Kontio observed that the cold weather months, especially those that fall within the traditional holiday season, are the worst for fires. Not surprisingly, space heaters — both the electric variety and those that use some sort of petroleum-based fuel — are among the chief causes of fires.

“The biggest thing is don’t leave an open flame or a heat source unattended,” Kontio said in the Journal story on the issue. “This time of year, you get people who are running space heaters and other heat sources. I can’t stress enough, that if you leave, shut them off or put them out.”

In neighboring Ishpeming, Fire Chief Ed Anderson said candles remain a chief cause of fires.

“Be very wary of candles,” Anderson said for the Journal story. “Candle fire is one of the main causes of fires any time of year, but especially this time of year during the holidays.”

In fact, the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Here are some other home fire facts with Christmas the principal focus from the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

• One of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.

• Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 32 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.

• A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four Christmas tree fires.

Candles start two out of five home decoration structure fires.

During the holiday season, use caution, care and above all else common sense. The life you save may be your own.