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Ed Yeates ReportingIf the recent rash of fires continues, firefighters worry we could set some statewide records this year. They're concerned about carelessness and what they call a growing apathy that fire simply can't hit my house.
The holidays are really making us vulnerable. Plug in the lights, light the candles, turn on the heaters, rush here and there - too many things to do, not enough time to stop and remember the simple rules. That's what worries Scott Freitag.
Scott Freitag, SLC Fire Department: “We have seen an increase in fires that are totally preventable this year.”
Salt Lake City alone has had more candle and electrical related fires and fire damage this year than in the last several years. Now, add to that statewide -- smoking in bed and space heater fires, and fires from Christmas lights which now come in single 100 and 200 light strands, all plugged into a single extension cord.
So, let’s review the rules. Keep candles away from combustible materials; the same holds true for space heaters; keep pets and children away from fire sources; and don't overload circuits. Also, you should have no more than three strands of Christmas lights hooked together into one outlet.
Scott Freitag: “Older homes and homes which haven’t been built properly or built with enough electrical capacity, it easily overloads. We're in a day in age where everything runs off electricity. And the things we plug into our homes now are far greater than what we've plugged in before."
As a consumer, you might not even know you’re overloading circuits. For example, when you hold onto extension cords, you feel no heat. But an instrument at the Salt Lake City Fire Department shows tells a different story.
Mike Moore, Station #2, Salt Lake City Fire Dept.: “Before it blows the circuit, you can generate tremendous amounts of heat, which could eventually cause a fire.”
So, use common sense and remember what you're doing!
Scott Freitag: “Be smart about it. It’s not worth losing your home or your life, or having serious injury because for a moment you forgot.”