Cold weather creates conditions for deadly fires. Along with Christmas, it is the most dangerous time of the year.

Let’s start with your Christmas tree.

Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, vents, or lights.

Keep the tree away from doors and other exits.

Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily. Turn off the Christmas tree lights when you leave the house and before going to bed.

Heating is the second leading cause of home fires and fire injuries and the leading cause of fires in the colder months.

Heating equipment is the third leading cause of fire deaths. This means that heating equipment causes 1 in 6 house fires and is responsible for 1 in 5 house deaths.

Keep heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn. Turn off the heaters when you are not at home.

Although fire safety experts warn against using the oven for heating, taking shelter in the kitchen while baking a chicken or a pie sounds like a perfect idea.

Each year, candles cause about 15,600 residential fires, 150 deaths, 1,270 injuries and $539 million in direct property damage.

More than half (55%) of household candles catch fire because the candle is too close to a combustible material.

Be very careful when using candles at any time of the year.

Finally, check all smoke detectors regularly and have a working fire extinguisher on every floor of your home.

Have a safe, happy holiday.

L.A. Parker is the Trentonian columnist. Find him on Twitter @LAParker6 or email him at

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