As temperatures cool, be fire-safe

EVERETT — In Snohomish County, colder temperatures often are accompanied by a rash of household fires caused by candles, heaters and fireplaces.

Local firefighters are asking folks to take a few safety precautions to prevent warm holiday celebrations from ending in soot and tears.

Any electrical heating device needs three feet of space around it, Everett Fire Marshal Rick Robinson said. That includes wall heaters and space heaters. Some devices can switch on by themselves if temperatures drop.

“It’s just something to be very careful of,” Robinson said.

Candles should never be left unattended, and they should be kept out of reach of children, Robinson said. Fireplaces also need constant supervision while in use, and annual cleaning.

In case of winter storms, people should keep warm clothing in places they can find in the dark, the fire marshal said.

People should never use barbecues or other outdoor cooking devices to warm up their home, he said. That can cause deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

Stay safe

•Brush up on how to keep house pipes from freezing. Never warm frozen pipes with a torch or lighter. Don’t leave frozen pipes unattended, in case they burst.

•Have a plan for power outages, including a stock of batteries and nonperishable food.

•Check the emergency kits in your vehicle and home. Make sure you have emergency plans for children and pets, and for older relatives who live nearby.

•Follow the directions on holiday lights. Don’t overload outlets or use frayed or damaged lights.

•Keep the Christmas tree watered, and dispose of it as soon as possible. Don’t lean a dead tree against a home. It can become a torch.

•Never leave food cooking unattended. Keep kids out of the kitchen. Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop.

•Most safety experts recommend against using turkey fryers. They pose a significant fire risk and should only be used outdoors and with great precaution.

•Don’t forget your smoke alarms and fire escape plans.

•Local Boy Scout troops often recycle Christmas trees as part of an annual fundraiser. Go to http://dryneedles.com to see which troop covers your neighborhood and how to contact them. For more information, call the main Everett office at 425-338-0380.

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