Fire official warns of holiday-related fire dangers

Local News

PAWLEY’S ISLAND, S.C. (WBTW) — Around the holidays, safety protocols shouldn’t be placed on the backburner.

“Thanksgiving Day — the number one day for house fires in the United States,” said Mark Nugent, division chief and fire marshal of Pawley’s Island.

Many will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner without the help of friends and family this year due to the pandemic. Nugent urges folks to be more aware this holiday season.

From twinkling holiday decorations to scrumptious meals made in the kitchen, safety measures could easily become an afterthought.

“We need the people to pay more attention,” Nugent explained.

Especially in the kitchen. He told News13, leaving food unattended while cooking and deep frying inside or near the home are fire hazards to avoid.

Nugent said it’s best to avoid areas with dry grass or leaves could easily catch fire. Also, knowing where the fire extinguisher is located and keeping it nearby is recommended. And before the festivities begin, make sure all smoke detectors are up to date.

Leaving the Christmas lights and other decorations plugged in over night can also be dangerous, Nugent said, especially when too many plugs are connected to a surge protector.

“Anything in your home electrical, you want to look for that UL – Underwriters Laboratories or FM for Factory Mutual,” Nugent explained the global safety certifications.

But even surge protectors with a stamp of approval can still be risky.

“The person smelled something burning they had a lot of stuff plugged into this and so you can have things like that go wrong,” Nugent explained.

Getting into the holiday spirit with inflatables and lights doesn’t have to come to a threatening cost. Nugent suggests unplugging before going to sleep and before leaving the house.

Debbie Holland, who decorates every holiday, agreed decorations aren’t meant to stay plugged in overnight. “I don’t want to lose everything I own,” Holland said. “I have my daughter and my grandson who’s here everyday. I don’t wanna lose everything,” she explained.

Nugent said he’s responded to 6-percent fewer house fire calls this year compared to last, but warns folks to be cautious this Thanksgiving.

“It’s sort of scary, but I look at it as a preventable thing,” he explained.

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