The holiday season.
The season of giving.
The season of house fires.
Peventing holiday fires
To prevent holiday fires, the City of Warren Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have issued safety information.
"The Warren Fire Department typically responds to more home fires during the winter months than any other time of year," Operations and Training Officer Joe Beardsley said. "In fact, nearly 50 percent of all fires the Warren Fire Department responded to are during the four-month period between November and February."
There are a number of factors that increase the risks during cold weather and holidays.
Home-heating equipment, from fireplaces to space heaters, increases the risk of fires. "When burning in a fireplace, always use a screen to prevent sparks from accidentally igniting materials in the area and only burn seasoned firewood," Beardsley said.
"Space heaters clearly present the greatest risk of home heating fires," Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of communications, said. "No matter what type of heating system people may use, we can all reduce our risk by taking simple safety precautions."
The NFPA suggestions include:
keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment;
have a three-foot 'kid-free zone' around open fires and space heaters;
never use your oven to heat your home;
have stationary equipment installed by a professional;
turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed;
always use the right kind of fuel;
make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container that should be kept a safe distance from the home;
test smoke alarms monthly and replace the batteries once a year, or when they begin to chirp;
install carbon monoxide alarms outside each sleeping are and on every level of the home. Test the alarms monthly.
Extension cords and overloaded outlets handling all those decorations bring up another set of problems.
"The careless use of extension cords is more prevalent during the holidays," Beardsley said. "The Warren Fire Department has responded to fires that were caused by overloaded extension cords and outlets, as well as extension cords being stapled to the floor and walls or being run through objects that will pinch and break the wires such as doors and floor vents."
Candles and fresh greenery also make a dangerous combination.
Electrical appliances and cooking round out Beardsley's list of elevated fire dangers during the winter holiday season.
As people prepare more food than they normally would for a meal at home and have more on their minds doing it, cooking is another potential hazard
Safety information related to candles, fresh Christmas greenery, and electrical equipment can be found on the City of Warren website, www.cityofwarrenpa.gov.