Colder weather means more chances for house fires

Local firefighters report an increase in house fires during the winter season. (Contributed)

Local firefighters report an increase in house fires during the winter season. (Contributed)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

With the coldest part of winter still ahead of us, it is imperative families take extra preparation to make sure their homes are safe and prevent fires from ever starting this winter.

Spruce McRee of the Shelby County First Battalion offered some fire safety tips for homeowners.

“Generally speaking winter time is the worst for house fires,” said McRee. “Last year we, being the First Battalion of Shelby County, had a rash of house fires. The most common denominator was heating with portable heaters and a few fireplaces. Folks just need to be very careful when using space heaters and make sure they are away from combustibles. Those with wood-burning fire places need to really have their chimneys inspected and cleaned on an annual basis.”

McRee also mentioned that just two days prior to giving these tips for the story, the first battalion battled a house fire in Brierfield on Saturday, Dec. 20, where the cause of the fire was suspected to be from electrical wiring inside the walls.

“Most folks just need to use good common sense and pay attention,” said McRee. “Make sure you have working smoke detectors and test often and practice EDIT (Exit drills in the home).”

McRee also mentioned that Alabama leads the nation in number of fire deaths.

The American Red Cross has a holiday guide to home fire safety for homeowners to view to make sure preventive measures are taken.

The guide can be viewed at redcross.org/news/article/Holiday-Guide-to-Home-Fire-Safety.