Tampa Bay firefighters share holiday safety tips

Home for the Holidays

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — An accidental fire is the fastest way to send your holiday plans up in smoke.

Firefighters in Tampa Bay say November and December are their busiest months for kitchen fires.

“If you have a fire this time of year and it leaves you without a home it can be very, very devastating to family,” said Temple Terrace Deputy Fire Marshall Michael Hagewood.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue brought local departments together to demonstrate how quickly your home can go from festive to engulfed in flames.

“The most common mistake is overloading extension cords. Statistics show 45% of Christmas tree fires are electrical fires because of the extension cords being overloaded or having too many lights on them,” Hagewood explained.

He and other area firefighters say small mistakes can quickly become big problems, especially when cooking.

“We do see an increase, kitchen fires are our biggest increases — unattended cooking. People have too much to drink, they’re under the influence of something else, they leave and come back and the kitchen is on fire,” said Tammy Zurla, the fire marshal for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

Firefighters recomend people follow directions when frying a turkey, water your Christmas tree regularly and don’t leave your oven unattended.

“It’s something you want to avoid at all costs. If you can, follow these tips,” Hagewood said.

He also suggests having the appropriate size fire extinguisher in an area of your home that’s easy to access.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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