Cooler Weather Calls for Safety

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

Every year around this time, as the temperatures drop, the number of house fires begin to spike.

Fire department officials say it's almost always for the same reason, people not using the heater correctly.

But they say it's simple to prevent most of the fires.

"Cold weather means people are going to turn on their heaters, and in this part of the country, you don't get a lot cold weather so it's usually an event when you turn the heater on," said the Meridian Fire Department's Tunzyaan Griffin.

Fire safety instructors are focusing on the three main extra heating devices, electric space heaters, fuel-powered space heaters and fireplaces.

When it comes to electric space heaters, Griffin says caution is absolutely necessary.

"You need to plug them directly into the wall, not the extension cord," said Griffin. "You need three feet of clear area and you want to make sure they are UL listed."

With fuel-powered heaters, Griffin says too often people fill them up inside, which can be extremely dangerous.

"Make sure they are filled outside, not inside, and do it when it is cool, the actual device is cool, and when you turn it on make sure you have good ventilation and don't move it when it is hot or lit," Griffin said.

And if you plan to use a fireplace, it's a good idea to have it cleaned and checked by a professional. Also keep an eye on elderly neighbors who may need assistance getting ready for the winter months.

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