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Firefighters warning residents about dangers around holiday decorations, space heaters

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – As families begin decorating for Christmas, the Midwest City Fire Department is encouraging residents to following important tips for preventing fires.

“We want to emphasize safety with candles because more than one-third of the home decoration fires are started by candles,” said Major David Richardson.  “Never burn a candle on or near anything that could catch fire, such as furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets or flammable decorations.”

Richardson said it is also important to keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.

“Make sure the area around your candle is free of clutter and don’t leave it unattended for any length of time. It’s also a good time to check that all smoke detectors are working in your home.”

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of indoor and outdoor holiday light strands to connect, and residents who have live Christmas trees should keep them away from heat sources. Also, remember to water them daily.

“Make sure the tree doesn’t block any exists, in the event of an emergency,” Richardson noted.

When it comes to space heaters, never use an extension cord or power strip, and never leave one unattended. Also, don’t let pets or children too close to the heater and don’t place a space heater on cabinets, tables, furniture or carpets.

In the event of a power outage, residents should call their electric utility and not 911.  If there is a power outage, flashlights are much safer to use than candles.

Residents with generators will want to store the fuel in an approved safety can and turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling.

Last minute grocery shopping should include non-perishables in the event of a power outage. Have an emergency kit and make sure it is well stocked with water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, and first aid kit.

Residents should keep cell phones charged for emergency calls should there be a power outage.

Richardson also stressed that in the event of severe weather, first responders are typically busy and emergency calls are prioritized for urgency.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding of our residents if our response is delayed,” he said.