Randall McBee, fire marshal-- for the Newton Fire/EMS Department, offers residents these tips on staying safe during the holiday season:

• Test your smoke detectors monthly and replace batteries at least twice a year.

• Have a fire extinguisher not more than 10 feet from the stove, on the exit side of the room.

• Keep the stovetop, burners and oven clean.

• Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or electric burner.

• Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared.

• Cook on the back burners when possible, and turn pot handles in so they don’t extend over the edge of the stove.

• Candles often are part of our holiday decorations. Use safe, sturdy noncombustible candleholders. Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn. Avoid using candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas. Keep children and pets away from burning candles. Never leave a burning candle unattended.

Turkey fryer safety

• Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.

• Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.

• Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.

• Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you don’t watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.

• Never let children or pets near the fire when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.

• To avoid spillover, do not overfill the fryer.

• Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil spatter.

• Make sure the turkey is completely thawed, and be careful with marinades. Oil and water don’t mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.

• The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow about 24 hours for every 5 pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator.

• Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.

Remember to use your best judgment when attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable, use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help.