Reminder – check your house for fire hazards

Sometimes, I get ridiculous press releases. And I can’t get them into the trash fast enough.

But whenever an email from a public information officer for a fire or police department lands in my mailbox, I read every word. And I try to pass it on.

This one arrived a couple of weeks ago from the Maricopa  Fire Department, and it’s timely today as everyone is caught up in celebrating the holiday. Take a few moments to read it and check your home. Have a safe Christmas season!


Historically, the winter months are the most active for house fires. In Maricopa, we are not immune to such tragedies. Last year, our area was affected by a fatal house fire that left a young family without a mother. In the past month alone, there have been two Maricopa families displaced by fires.

The holidays are a time to be enjoyed with friends and family, not a time to try to rebuild your life after a fire that may have been prevented.

With the holiday season now in full swing, there are added fire hazards inside a home. Christmas trees, candles, extra lights and decorations and heaters all deserve attention to ensure they can be enjoyed safety.

The Maricopa Fire Department wants to help ensure your safety this season and offers these following safety tips:


  • If possible avoid lit candles; fake candles that use light bulbs to replicate the flame are safe and cost-effective because you can use them over and over.
  • If you use lit candles, never place them by a tree or hanging curtains. Place them in areas where they cannot be knocked over. Never leave a candle unattended.

Holiday Lights:

  • Inspect cords for any frayed or exposed wires, bare spots or gaps in the insulation.
  • DO NOT overload electrical outlets. Never string more than three strands together unless approved by the manufacturer.
  • Periodically check the cord. It should never be warm to the touch. If it is, dispose of it.


  • All decorations should be non-flammable and pulled away from heating vents.
  • Make sure that your decorations are not blocking exits. If an emergency happens your family must be able to get out of your exits safely.
  • Never put discarded wrapping paper in your fireplace. Wrapping paper can create a large fire, throw embers outside the fireplace and start a fire inside your home.

Home Heating:

  • Keep or maintain a three-foot clearance between all heating equipment (gas water heater, space heater, etc.) and anything that can burn.
  • Inspect and maintain heating equipment regularly for safety.
  • When buying a new, portable space heater, make sure the label shows that a recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), lists it.
  • Space heaters should be turned off every time you leave the room and before going to bed.

Read more about the Maricopa Fire Pals program here.

And, don’t forget to WATER YOUR TREE. It’s dry in the desert, and it just takes a few seconds and a spark for tragedy to happen. Watch how quickly a tree can combust in this video from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Have a happy and safe holiday season!


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