Officials offer fire safety tips for colder weather

Updated: Oct. 17, 2019 at 6:33 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As the temperatures outside drop, many people turn the temperatures inside, up.

But before you light your fireplace, or plug in your space heater, fire officials want to make sure you’re taking the proper precautions.

“When we see an uptick in fatalities, unfortunately, is when cooler weather hits and people are using these appliances for the first time in months. So, I would encourage everybody to inspect them properly and use them properly," State Fire Marshal Scott Pilgreen said.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, in the United States, there are roughly 65,000 house fires a year due to heater safety issues.

“We do see an influx in calls as the weather gets colder, and we do eventually see some fires here and there that are started from space heaters," Lt. Jason Cupps, with Montgomery Fire/Rescue, said.

Many will turn to space heaters for a source of heat, but it’s important to remember that they must be used with caution.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment, such as space heaters, are the second leading cause of fires in homes in the United States.

“Make sure you have plenty of distance around where the appliance is being used. In other words, don’t have them too close to the person, don’t have them too close to drapes or bedding materials,” Pilgreen said.

“You’re supposed to keep a three foot radius around them at all times," Cupps said.

While it’s important to have a smoke detector in your home, it’s even more important to have a fire escape plan in place. That’s according to Pilgreen.

“Everybody needs to have a fire escape plan. The smoke detectors are the warning, and we need that early warning, but once you hear that early warning, should you hear that in your home, then what? Have a plan. Make sure everybody in that house, be it family, make sure everybody understands what the plan is and how to get out," Pilgreen said.

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