Tyler, TX (KETK) — The Christmas tree has been sitting out for a few weeks, the heater is on full blast, and the oven is stuffed with dinner for the extended family. Surprisingly, these every day items can be a hazard.
So KETK spoke with the Smith County Deputy Fire Marshal, Kevin Londoff, who shared, "Well as far as safety goes, mainly over the Christmas period, we have people that buy the real live trees. Keep them hydrated, make sure you keep plenty of water underneath them". The drier the tree gets, the more dangerous.
This becomes especially hazardous when around space heaters. Londoff shared, "Heaters are a big thing. Try to keep your heaters away from combustible items. Keep them in an open area". Space heaters emit large amounts of heat, which can ignite household items like curtains, plants, and any form of paper.
During the holidays this is especially true with wrapping paper. Always make it a point to throw away or recycle wrapping paper. Londoff said, "Wrapping paper definitely. That is a combustible item that is just paper that could easily catch". Do not leave wrapped presents around a space heater unattended.
Also a problem are oven fires, cozy fireplaces, and outdoor camping. Londoff recommends, "If you have any kind of fire going at either a campfire or a fire inside your chimney, try to make sure it's out before you go to bed so we don't have any unexpected things at night". According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, there are other things you can do to prevent this from becoming a problem. Keep the fire small, never leave it unattended, and remove all materials from the surrounding area. Keeping water or a fire extinguisher nearby is also important, even when building a fire in an indoor fireplace.
However, not many East Texans are concerned, keeping their sights set on the reason for the season. One said their focus is, "Just family and friends", while another mentioned, " Just have a great day every day"!