HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Fire Marshal Dan Wilkerson says in the winter months, Huntsville Fire Department tends to see an increase of fire calls because more people are at home, cooking and using heating appliances, and overloading electrical circuits.
Dan Wilkerson has been with Huntsville Fire and Rescue since 2001 and has been the Fire Marshal for six years.
“I’ve seen alot of injuries and fatalities and obviously if we can prevent those we want to do our best job we can to prevent them,” says Wilkerson.
Wilkerson says in the winter, the department sees an increase of house fire calls.
“During the holidays alot of people like to cook at home and it seems like our cooking fires tend to increase. That’s always been our number one cause of fires,” says Wilkerson.
So Wilkerson says it’s best to stay in the kitchen when cooking.
“We say ‘keep an eye on what you fry.’ A lot of the fires that we have that pertain to cooking people put something on the stove or in the oven then walk away from it,” says Wilkerson.
Wilkerson says people are also prone to overload their electrical circuits with holiday decorations.
“Any time your lights flicker, or your breakers trip… those are indicators that you may have an electrical issue that needs to be addressed,” says Wilkerson.
He says no matter how chilly it is, don’t sleep with a space heater on.
“If you’ve got an older space heater it might not have the tip over protection which shuts it off if it gets knocked over. So you want to make sure you have a newer space heater that has to safety functions in it,” says Wilkerson.
Wilkerson says the unfortunate thing is even a small fire can cause you to be displaced from your home and can have a big impact on your life physically and financially.
Huntsville Fire and Rescue says its easier to fight the fire before it starts, meaning prevention is key.