Important tips for preventing fires during the holidays

SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — Firefighters are used to seeing an increase in fires during the holiday season, with causes ranging from space heaters to dried-out Christmas trees, but officials say there are a number of ways to avoid these dangers.

Local firefighters were kept busy over the Christmas weekend with flames breaking out at homes in Providence, Seekonk, Fall River, and Boston.

Some of the ways to prevent these types of fires simply go overlooked, according to Seekonk Fire Lt. Shaun Whalen.

“Those are the things that we just take for granted and we just think they’re just there in the corner and we’re not paying any attention to it,” said Whalen.

Whalen said the centerpiece for the Christmas season is the tree.

“We want to make sure that we water it daily still to make sure that it stays nice and moist to make sure it doesn’t become a tinder box,” he explained.

Whalen said it’s also crucial to talk with your family members about a fire escape plan and to never use an oven to heat your home.

Meanwhile, one device that’s meant to keep you warm can also create danger.

“Now the colder, winter season again we want to make sure that space heaters are kept an appropriate distance away from any furniture, and bedding,” Whalen added.

Whalen also said to never leave a space heater unattended and to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at least twice a year.