Meridian, Miss. With lows headed down into the 30s this week, heat in every house will be on in some kind of form, whether it's central heat, a space heater, or fireplace, and while they do a good job of keeping us warm, they also present a fire danger. Meridian Fire Marshal Jason Collier says that they see the number of residential fires spike during the colder months.
"Whenever we have our first really cold snap, which is probably coming up pretty soon I think, the heaters that come on automatically from last year that are still plugged and still energized, and they're just waiting for the right temperature to come on, and when people start using space heaters, they use them improperly."
Making sure you have 3 feet of clearance around a space heater and unplugging it when it's not in use, as well as having your chimney cleaned can drastically reduce your risk of a fire, but smoke detectors also play a huge part in fire safety.
"October is the month for changing the batteries in your smoke detectors. You should change the batteries twice a year, in April and October with the time change. Once a month they should be tested. Just press the button and hold it until it sounds and you know it's good and ready to go."
Using heating equipment safely and having working smoke detectors is only half the battle. Collier says on top of that, every home should practice E.D.I.T.H.
"It's Exit Drills In The Home. Have a meeting place outside where everyone meets at the same place every time, and never go back inside no matter the circumstances. Don't go back in until the fire department has told you it's OK to go back in."
Taking a little time now to prepare for the season could save you money, or even your life.