Fire safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season

Safety & Security

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — While many Americans are celebrating with their loved ones on Christmas day, many firefighters are hard at work, including those at the Rochester Fire Department.

With all the cooking and weather, the holidays can be a very busy time for firefighters.

“We do get a good amount of incidents that are surrounding the whole cooking thing, kitchen and cooking safety and that type of stuff, along with the weather as well. We do get snow based incidents as well,” said Captain Jonathan Aponte with the Rochester Fire Department.

Between 2015-2019 , U.S. fire departments responded to an average 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused about $10 million in direct property damage annually.

Captain Aponte said one big way to keep your loved ones safe, that gets missed a lot, is to clean out stoves.

“Don’t let that grease build up. If you plan on having holidays and cooking some big meals, you want to make sure you have an oven and stove that’s ready for that, so cleaning the stove out, making sure you have
working smoke detectors, are some of the biggest tips I can give,” Aponte said.

Other tips include getting your fireplace and chimney professionally inspected and swept, keeping decorations away from the fireplace, watering real Christmas trees daily, and have a plan in place incase there is a fire.

Aponte said although many firefighters either work or are on-call during the holidays, they are happy to serve the community and often feel appreciated by residents.

“We’re constantly out in the community and when we go on these calls there’s no shortage of stories you’re going to hear of firefighters buying toys or doing things for people to try to help them and make their situation a little bit better,” Aponte said.

For more information on the Rochester Fire Department, click here or call  (585) 428-7037.

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