By Rob Martin

Fire Chief

Win Bur Sew Fire District

I wanted to take this time to remind area residents to be safe this holiday season. As fire fighters and EMS personnel, we see the devastating after effects of fire and accidents. I urge you to please review the safety tips below and practice them to help avoid a tragic accident or fire.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking. Thanksgiving ranks at the top of the list for home fires involving cooking equipment with three times the average number, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

But the potential for a kitchen fire doesn’t have to turn your next holiday party into a bah-humbug affair. Here are the “ingredients” for a safe holiday:


  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking so you can keep a close eye on the food, especially when frying and sautéing with oil.
  • When cooking a meal that takes a long time like roasting a turkey or baking a roast, check it frequently. And a timer is your friend. Use one to help remind you there’s something cooking. Some people even put timers in different rooms so they can hear it over the music and party chatter.
  • Be alert and focused when cooking. It’s easy to get distracted when there is a lot of activity around you. To help minimize the risk of injury, if you’re sleepy or have had an extra glass of eggnog or two, ask others to take over in the kitchen. Or save that glass of wine to have during dinner or after you’ve cleared the table and washed dishes.
  • Keep things that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, wooden utensils, food wrappers, and towels away from the cooking area.
  • Make sure kids stay at least three feet away from the stove and oven, hot food, and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Store toys, pocketbooks, and bags in a safe place so you, your guests, and the kids don’t trip near the stove and oven, or on a sharp corner of the counter.
  • Move matches and utility lighters out of reach of children.
  • Secure cords from electric knives, the coffee maker, plate warmer, mixer, and other cooking equipment at the far end of counters so no one accidentally pulls them off the edge.


Here are few holiday decoration tips as well;

  • If using a live tree, pick one that is fresh and has needles that don’t fall off if touched.
  • Be sure to water the tree often
  • Place the tree at least 3 feet away from a heat source
  • Use only safety listed lights and replace any that are worn or broken
  • Never use candles to decorate the tree and if using candles elsewhere in the home, monitor the use and always extinguish before going out or to bed
  • When the season is over, discard the tree and other decorations quickly as super dry trees and decorations are an extreme fire hazard. Many places offer recycling of the trees be sure to check where you purchased the tree.


The Win Bur Sew Fire District wishes all a happy and safe holiday season. If you have interest in joining the department or other questions, please call me, Chief Robert Martin at 815-335-2651.



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