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Holiday Decor and Fire Safety with Tim Reardon of the Bend Fire Department

Submitted by Nest Bend on
House Talk Episode 23 – Fire Safety and Holiday Decorations with Bend Fire Department’s Tim Reardon

Karen Malanga: Hi, this is Karen Malanga with House Talk. I’m really excited today to have Tim Reardon from the Bend Fire Department. Not only is he a firefighter, but he’s also a paramedic. And he’s here to touch on holiday décor and fires within the home.

As we near Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas and whatever holidays you choose to celebrate, that décor can often times be the cause of a house fire.

Tim, what do you see generally? What are the problems with holiday décor?

Tim Reardon: First of all, thank you very much for having me.

Karen: You’re welcome.

Tim: Any chance to talk about fire safety is really important.

So yes, as far as what we see, we see a little mix of everything. A lot of the causes of fires that we see, sometimes they go undetermined. But a lot of times, they can be traced back to improper use of candles. And also in the kitchen, cooking fires.

Those are the two most common causes of fires within the structure of the house.

Karen: What about the Christmas tree?

Tim: The Christmas tree? Yes, certainly, historically, the Christmas tree, when they have traditionally used the candles on the Christmas tree, and not properly keeping it watered, that can definitely lead to home fires as well.

If you have a live Christmas tree, making sure that you keep it watered. And just be aware of overloading any outlets.

Karen: I would think that too with all the outdoor lighting on top of indoor lighting, and then party lights on top of that.

Tim: Exactly. It’s really easy to overload the outlets and cause an electrical spark. If it’s close to a combustible, you have gifts, presents under the Christmas tree, perhaps a dry Christmas tree or one that is a little too old, it doesn’t take a lot to get fire started in the house that way as well.

Karen: In this day and age, maybe a Samsung phone. I’m just kidding. I just saw that a plane was diverted because a phone caught on fire.

Tim: It’s pretty crazy.

Karen: Do you see an increase in calls during the holiday season?

Tim: Yes, we do. Bend, it’s unique here. We’re still a bit of a tourist area. So certainly, in the summer months, people come here to recreate, enjoy our trails, rivers and forest and stuff like that.

It’s the same thing in the winter too. They come here to ski and enjoy the outdoors in the winter.

So, there is an uptick in calls around holidays especially. And that’s both fire and EMS side of things. Basically, the more people that come to Bend, our call volume usually increases.

Still, I believe the current breakdown is we still run many more medical calls than fire calls. A lot of people are surprised by how many EMS calls we run. I think about 70% EMS…

Karen: Versus fire?

Tim: …and 30% fire-related calls. That percentage fluctuates year to year.

And that’s a national trend as well. It’s not unique to Oregon or Bend. The national trend is EMS is beginning to dominate. Fire departments are taking more different responsibilities. EMS is certainly a big part of what we do.

Karen: Well, thank you for being here, Tim. It’s always important to learn about how to help ourselves to be a little safer and learn more about what the fire department does in our town of Bend as well. I really appreciate your time.


Tim:         Happy to be here.