Winter Watch-Outs

With the changing of the seasons inevitably comes a changing of risks South Metro Fire Rescue wants our community to be prepared for. The following is information on our department's top concerns this winter, as well as tips to help empower our community members to keep themselves safe. South Metro Fire Rescue wants our residents to enjoy this holiday season.

You have the power to help us spread the message of safety like no one else.

Share this information with your friends, neighbors and loved ones - it could save a life!


the #1 cause of house fires in the United States.

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires with more than 3x the daily average. Christmas Day and Christmas Eve rank 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Source: NFPA Research Division

The best way to prevent this from happening to you is to STAY ALERT. The holiday season provides tons of distractions while cooking, but staying in the kitchen and staying focused on your tasks is the best way to prevent a potentially devastating kitchen fire.


  • Set timers before placing items in the oven or on the stove to cook.
  • Keep your cooking area tidy and free of items that can burn (oven mitts, food packaging, towels, paper recipes, etc).
  • Turn off burners if you have to leave the kitchen.
  • Keep handles turned in towards the center of the stove so they can't accidentally be pulled off by a curious kiddo.
  • Have the lid handy just in case of a small fire.

Turkey fryers are dangerous and cause a serious fire hazard. If you want fried turkey, please purchase one from a grocery store or restaurant.

LITHIUM-ION BATTERY FIRES are increasing nationwide.

These batteries can ignite rapidly or even explode when improperly used, charged, or stored.


  • Only purchase UL certified devices.
  • Do not keep charging after it is fully charged.
  • Do not place in direct sunlight, a hot car, or on anything soft like a bed, couch, or carpet.
  • Store batteries away from anything flammable.
  • It is illegal to throw these batteries away in the trash. Locate your nearest battery recycling location.

This video demonstrates how quickly a lithium-ion battery can catch fire or explode if damaged.

Signs something isn't right:

  • Heat
  • Odor
  • Change in color or shape
  • Leaking
  • Odd noises.

If you notice any of these signs, stop using it immediately and move it away from anything flammable if it is safe to do so.


becomes so important when the weather gets colder...

but SPACE HEATERS cause almost 50% of all home heating fires, and over 85% of associated deaths.

There are a few important rules to follow when using fireplaces or space heaters.

  • Place heaters on a solid, flat surface.
  • Purchase space heaters with auto shut-off if it gets tipped over.
  • Do not place anything within 3 feet of the heater.
  • Plug the heater directly into an outlet. DO NOT use an extension cord.
  • Space heaters should be turned off and unplugged when leaving the room or going to sleep.

FIREPLACE doors can reach temperatures over 1300 degrees and can remain dangerously hot for hours.

  • Keep everyone 3 feet away from fireplace. Utilize a gate if children or pets are present.
  • Have fireplace/chimney inspected and cleaned annually.

* NEVER use your stove or oven to heat your home *

Did you know that HALF of home fires in December are caused by CANDLES?

DECORATING OUR HOMES for the holidays is a wonderful tradition, but this can increase your risk of a home fire.

  • Avoid using candles if possible. Many battery-powered alternatives are safer and create the same ambiance.
  • Place candles in sturdy, fire-proof containers at least 12 inches away from anything flammable.
  • Do not let them burn for over 4 hours.
  • Keep candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, new decorations, or vents and out of reach of children or pets.
  • Blow out all candles when leaving the room or going to bed.


cause almost 45,000 home fires every year, and 50% of them are caused by wiring or lighting equipment.

Peak electrical fire deaths in the United States occur from November through March!

  • Extension cords are for short term use only.
  • Do not plug an extension cord into another extension cord.
  • Check cords for any damage before using them.
  • Do not place anything flammable over lighting.
  • NEVER use an extension cord for a heat-producing appliance.

Always consider decorations to be flammable.

Do not place any decorations near any heating appliance, candle, or in an air current that may blow them into a dangerous area.


  • Stovetop - smother flames by sliding the lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Do not attempt to move the pan until completely cooled.
  • Oven or Microwave - turn off heat and keep door closed.
  • Space Heater - Unplug the heater if possible.
  • Lithium-Ion Battery - If a battery overheats or catches fire, unplug it if possible, move anything flammable away from it, and CALL 911.


Evacuate immediately,

close the doors behind you, and

CALL 911.



Slip and fall rates increase significantly as temperatures decline.

  • Wear proper footwear.
  • Use handrails when available.
  • Avoid distractions while walking.

Wiping your feet thoroughly when entering a building isn't just being polite! It's much safer for you and everyone who follows you.

Thank you so much for taking the time to focus on your safety this holiday season. South Metro Fire Rescue is ready to respond to any emergency, however, we would prefer to meet you under less dire circumstances. Keep warm, stay safe, and let's end 2023 the best way we can: focusing on taking care of those around us and staying happy and healthy!

Happy Holidays from your SMFR Community Risk Reduction Team

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