Greer Fire Chief Dorian Flowers shared some safety reminders for residents and families during the holiday season.
“The biggest thing we are concerned with is cooking related fires,” Flowers said. “People leaving pots on the stove and walking away.”
Flowers also sounded the caution alarm for frying turkeys, carbon monoxide poisoning and Christmas trees that are already in the drying out mode when they reach lots.
Flowers said he is monitoring the fires in the North Carolina mountains and his staff is at the ready if assistance is needed. “No requests have been made of our department but we are ready to respond if necessary, Flowers said.
There is a ban on outdoor burning in the city of Greer and Spartanburg and Greenville counties and Flowers emphasized the dangers. “People need to be cautious in how they discard of smoking materials,” Flowers said. “Winds can pick up and the dry ground can ignite fires.”
A lit cigarette tossed out of a car window caused a grass fire that raged out of control in April 2014 that caused $1.7 million of damage that left four families displaced at Riverwood Farms.
Arson is suspected in a majority of the Nantahala National Forest Fires in North Carolina, according to the U.S. Forest Service and incident command teams. A lightning strike started one fire and some were thought to be human-caused, such as campfires left unattended or cigarettes tossed without being completed extinguished. About 16 wildfires have burned nearly 46,000 acres, according to N.C. officials reports.
Flowers mentioned that buyers of live Christmas trees need to be extra careful. “Once a tree is cut it is in the process of dying,” Flowers said. “Make sure the tree gets lots of water. Once a tree is dried out any spark will ignite a fire.”
Frying turkeys have their own dangers, according to Flowers. “Be vigilant where you put the fryers. People will fry them outside but frying turkeys inside can cause big fires,” Flowers said. “Make sure you have something to put out the fires.”
Beginning the holiday season, traditionally Thanksgiving week through the New Year, there is an “uptick in home fires,” Flowers said.
Power outages lead to more probability of carbon monoxide poisoning. “The generators are taken out and unfortunately, while they should be outside, a lot of people move them into the house,” Flowers said. “Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas and invisible gas. It can put you in a deep sleep that leads eventually to death.”
Call the Greer Fire Department at 864-848-2166 for more information.