MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The holidays are an exciting time with festive decorations, loved ones in town and delicious meals made in the kitchen. However, it’s also a time when safety measures can slip your mind.
Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. Intertwined with these holidays are Christmas trees, lights, and decorations that also can lead to major fires.
In order to prevent any emergency room visits or calls, Myrtle Beach Fire Capt. Jonathan Evans said there are some things people should remember.
“A few years back, they had a situation where they had the Christmas tree up still in January, end of January,” Evans said. “And this huge Christmas tree caught fire and the family was not able to get out. So, it does happen, it can happen and at the same time, we don’t want it to happen. ”
Evans said the fire didn’t happen in Myrtle Beach, but it very well could have. To prevent this, if you plan to put a real tree up, do not let it dry out and don’t keep it up past the holidays.
Evans said there are also some important things to remember when holiday lights.
“Just make sure they are in good condition when you put them up,” he said. “And also, if they are meant to be outdoor, make sure they are the outdoor type of lights you are putting up, indoor for indoor and outdoor for outdoor, and don’t plug too many light sets into each other.”
Evans also said you should always pay attention to what you are doing and that you should never overload an outlet. More people in homes means more distractions, he said, adding that another common mistake is leaving food unattended in the kitchen.
“It’s a big cooking holiday, and typically across the country we see cooking fires as the No. 1 reason fires,” he said. “That ramps up around the holidays.”
Another cooking mishap common involves deep-frying a turkey. Evans said you need to make sure your bird is thawed and dry before placing it in hot oil. Also, don’t overfill pots with grease.
It’s also important to know where your fire extinguisher is located and to make sure that smoke alarms are working properly.
“So, it may be a good idea now to go around the house and check,” Evans said. “As you are putting up decorations, you are already on the ladder check the smoke alarms while you are up there and make sure they are working.”
If you have any questions or concerns, Evans said you should contact your local fire department beforehand so that your celebration doesn’t become a devastating one.
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Adriana Cotero is News13’s weekend evening anchor and a morning reporter. She joined the team in July 2023 after working in the island of Guam. Adriana is from Saline, Michigan, and graduated from Central Michigan University. Follow Adriana on Facebook, X, formerly Twitter, and Instagram and read more of her work here.