As the holiday season gears up to full speed, residents are increasingly preoccupied with planning special meals, attending social events and shopping for gifts. Shawnee Fire Department (SFD) Chief Dru Tischer and his team are preparing for the winter season, which typically bumps up the rate of fire incidents each year.

As the holiday season gears up to full speed, residents are increasingly preoccupied with planning special meals, attending social events and shopping for gifts.

Shawnee Fire Department (SFD) Chief Dru Tischer and his team are preparing for the winter season, which typically bumps up the rate of fire incidents each year.

“According to the National Fire Protection Association, home fires occur more in winter than in any other season and heating equipment is involved in one of every six home fires,” he said.

Residents can take some preventive measures by following a few safety rules during the colder months.

Tischer offered some home fire safety tips:

• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from a heat source — including fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators and space heaters

• Keep portable generators outside, away from windows and as far away as possible from your house — also, allow the generator to cool before re-fueling

• Store cooled ashes from the fireplace in a tightly covered metal container and keep it outside at least 10 feet from the home or other structures

• Plug in only one heat-producing appliance — space heater, etc. — into an electrical outlet at a time

Tischer said the indoors is not the only concern during the winter season.

With the outside vegetation now dormant, wildland fire season is also here again.

Tischer said there are precautions that can be taken to discourage the incidence of fire.

• Clear off pine needles, dead leaves and anything that can burn from your rooflines, gutters, decks, porches, patios and along fence lines — this will reduce the chance for any falling embers to start a new fire, he said.

• Store away furniture cushions and other decorations from decks, patios and porches

“These items catch embers and can help ignite your home if you leave them outside,” Tischer said.

• Rake out landscaping mulch to at least five feet from your home — embers landing in mulch that touches your house, deck or fence is a big fire hazard, he said.

• Trim back any shrubs or tree branches that come closer than five feet of your home

• Walk around your home and remove anything within 30 feet that could burn — this includes woodpiles, spare lumber, vehicles or boats — anything that can act as a large fuel source

“These tips will help citizens prevent home fires and minimize the chance that their home will be damaged by a wildland fire,” Tischer said.

Burning responsibly also can decrease the rate of uncontrolled fires.

Tischer reminds residents a permit is required to burn within the city limits of Shawnee.

To request a permit, call the Shawnee Fire Marshal’s Office at (405) 878-1675 or (405) 878-1676.

“Although a permit is not required to burn outside the city limits, we strongly encourage residents in those areas to watch the weather closely before deciding to burn — or do any activity that might start a wildland fire — and pay close attention to the forecasted wind and relative humidity,” Tischer said.

For more information, call (405) 878-1671.