Red Cross sees more home fires during holidays

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GRAND JUNCTION,Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- The American Red Cross is warning families to be on alert as the colder months start to set in. They say between extra cooking and holiday decorations make for lots of house fires.

"You know it just makes me realize the danger, the potential danger in the winter with fires,” said Grand Junction resident Jerry Garrett.

Holiday decorations may look nice but they can also be dangerous.

"Last year, the Red Cross responded to 105 fires throughout our chapter jurisdiction. We definitely see a spike in that during the months of November, December, January,” said Executive Director for the Red Cross of Western Colorado Eric Myers.

It’s best to keep pets and children away.

"We did have a cat. We make sure [the decorations] are high enough so the cat can’t get to the lights because he likes to eat the ornaments and the tinsel off the tree,” said Alexis Skarda, of Grand Junction.

It’s not just electric lights and decorations.

"Make sure you're staying with cooking all of the time and you're not just leaving items on the stove, that you're having your dryer vents and your chimney professionally cleaned so that that residue isn't building up inside. For electrical cords make sure you’re not overloading sockets or using them in ways that are not meant to be used,” said GJFD’s Ellis Thompson-Ellis.

Holiday cooking can be the main culprit, so make sure you take precautions.

"The type of wattage that you use, the type of cords that you use make sure its indoor, outdoor safe,” said GJ resident Tamara Zimmerer.

To prevent disaster for your family.

"Make sure that kids and pets are at least three feet away from a heat source and again that you're with decorations while they are on or with cooking while they are on the stove,” said Thompson-Ellis.

The Red Cross says this is a prime time of year to check your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms, to make sure they're working properly.

If you need a one, you can get one for free from the Red Cross office.

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