Fire safety dos and don’ts this winter

(ABC 6 News) – Some may use alternative heating tricks to keep their home warm this winter, but the Rochester Fire Department asks that people use caution.

"Half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February," Firefighter Justin Slavin said.

Here is a brief list of tips from the Rochester Fire Department:

Turn off all Christmas lights and space heaters, and blow out candles before going to bed or leaving the house.

"The older lights the incandescent bulbs — they tend to heat up more and cause more of a risk," Slavin said.

Don’t leave your oven on for extra heat, and make sure your chimney is clean and clear before using the fireplace. Keep heaters or warm objects at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire. The fire department also stresses that one in every seven home fires involve heating equipment such as fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, or space heaters.

When picking out a tree, look for fresh green pine needles. Then, saw off the bottom two inches of the stump before putting it in the stand.

"Water it every day, Make sure your tree doesn’t dry out," said Slavin.

When the holidays wrap up and your tree dries out, Olmsted County lets you drop your Christmas tree off for free at the Olmsted County compost site. Hanging onto a dry tree is a fire hazard.

"You wanna concentrate on being around family and having fun. Not dealing with a fire," Slavin said.

The fire department also recommends only plugging in one space heater into an outlet at a time. And avoid plugging them into extension cords.