HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - As you prepare to deck the halls this holiday season, officials advice you to be fire smart. The holidays are one of the most dangerous times of year for household fires.
"Cooking fires lead to more destruction than any other fires that we deal with," said Fire Prevention Officer Dan Wilkerson. "One of the main reasons is because it's the most common way that a fire could start in your home. Cooking fires are our number one cause of fires in the nation. Not only in Huntsville, across the nation."
Wilkerson said when the temperatures drop, the number of fires rise.
"Our fires typically increase in the winter months because people are cooking at home and they are using heaters and more appliances that can cause fires," he said.
The holiday season just makes a busy time worse.
"During Thanksgiving where people are frying turkeys and stuff we ask that they follow the manufacturer's instructions," he advises. "You always want to measure the grease that you are frying to make sure when you do fry the turkey, that the grease doesn't overflow. You always want to use those on a non-combustible surface instead of a wood deck or wood porch or something that will catch on fire."
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, between 2009-2011 an estimated 1,900 residential building fires were reported to fire departments on Thanksgiving Day, causing an estimated 5 deaths, 25 injuries and $28 million in property loss.
Anytime you are cooking, Wilkerson said make sure you have a timer on to remind you of your meal and keep the handles of your pots and pans out of the reach of children. Most importantly, keep a fire extinguisher nearby - just in case.