Fire officials urge safety this holiday

Published 2:37 am Wednesday, December 23, 2009

By By Lydia Grimes
About 3,500 Americans die each year in fires and about 20,000 are injured. According to the National Fire Protection Association, during the four year period of 2003-2007 fire departments responded to an average of 250 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 14 deaths, 26 injuries and $13.8 million in property damage. An estimated 14,800 home structure fires started by candles were reported, resulting in an estimated 160 civilian deaths, 1,340 civilian injuries and estimated property loss of $471 million.
Atmore Assistant Fire Chief Mike Staples has some tips to make this a safer holiday season for all.
"Do not put your tree near a heating source such as a heater or fire place," he said. "The heat will dry out the tree, and if a fire place sprays embers out it could set the tree on fire. Also make sure the tree stand is filled with water to keep the tree from drying out."
The holidays bring yet another source of danger of fire in the home, often beginning with the Christmas tree.

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