With Christmas less than two weeks away and colder weather on the horizon, officials from two local fire departments shared some safety reminders for the holidays and winter.
Regarding Christmas safety, Three Forks Volunteer Fire Chief Keith Aune said to use a real tree with plenty of water, use heavy-duty extension cords for items using more power, and not plug too many items into the cord. Aune added Christmas is also a good reminder to change smoke detector batteries and rugs over extension cords is not a good idea.
Along with also stressing the importance of watering Christmas trees, Camille Bjorndal with the Willow Creek Volunteer Fire Department encouraged area residents to clean their chimneys and make sure the heat and dryer vents on the outside are clear of snow and to keep everything clear of heater vents and space heaters inside to prevent fires.
Both Aune and Bjorndal also discussed the dangers of space heaters in the winter.
Bjorndal said not to use extension cords or surge protectors with the heaters, and Aune added the heaters pull a lot of power and sometimes they can melt the outlet if they are turned up to a higher setting, and that or the heater malfunctioning is how fires tend to start.
"And don't place the heater close to any object. It can heat up objects hot enough to catch a fire," Aune said.
Bjorndal also shared several tips for those traveling in inclement weather.
"When traveling, always let someone know you are leaving and where you are going. Carry extra blankets, warm clothes, first aid kit, flashlight, phone charger, kitty litter or sand, and snacks," she said.