Officials offer fire safety tips for the winter

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – We are moving further into the winter season — that means people are getting into the holiday spirit with decorations and they’re also trying to stay warm. The winter season also means an increase in house fires.

Wichita fire officials said there are some common sense things you can do to keep fire crews from coming to your house.

According to Lt. Joe Evans, fireplaces should be inspected and cleaned annually to keep the danger of fire from becoming reality.

“To make sure that you don’t have anything wrong with the fireplace, make sure you don’t have a buildup of creosote that can ignite,” said Evans.

He also said this is the time of year everyone fires up heaters. Heaters that can, all too often, be the source of house fires.

“If you’re not using them, shut them off,” Evans said. If you’re not in the room, shut them off.”

Fire officials remind you to be extra careful with Christmas trees — don’t let them get too dry, or they could become a fire danger. Also, don’t forget to check your Christmas lights.

“Make sure there’s no frays, make sure none of the bulbs are missing…they’re not damaged in any way, if they are, then just throw them out and replace them,” said Evans.

Other little bits of advice that can make a big difference — when you’re unwrapping gifts, don’t be tempted to throw the wrapping paper in the fireplace.

According to Evans, the gift wrapping paper will burn “really intense, really fast.”

The fire department has more tips on its website that you can check out. Evans said it’s the little things that can make a huge difference in preventing fires this winter.