Using smoke detectors properly to prevent fires - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Using smoke detectors properly to prevent fires

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BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) -

As temperatures dip into the low teens overnight, folks in our area will be relying on a number of ways to stay warm.

But before you turn on your heaters or light the fireplace, make sure your smoke detector works!  

That's what saved a man and his dog after his Christmas tree caught the home on fire.

Firefighters still don't know what caused the Christmas tree to spark at this home off Trask Farm Road late Thursday night.

But the smoke detector made all the difference.

"In a lot of fires today, about 80% of the time when people die in a fire, it's because they didn't have a working smoke detector. Just having one of these in your home will at least double your chances of surviving," said Lieutenant Tony Carneavale, Burton Fire District.  

We're told the young man was asleep and when he woke up, there was so much smoke inside that he had to crawl on the floor to get out.

Firefighters recommend putting smoke detectors on every level of the home, at the top of any stairwell as well as inside and outside of the bedrooms.

"The reason for that is we want you to sleep with your door closed. The door creates a barrier to keep the smoke out of your bedroom and keep you alive," said Carneavale.  

They also emphasize making sure the smoke detector is battery operated.

"In fires, one of the first things to go out sometimes is the electricity so if the detector won't go off, you want to make sure you still have that battery in there so you can hear it," he added.

When using space heaters, the general rule is to keep them at least 3 feet away in all directions.

Firefighters also caution people to avoid using extension cords with space heaters and setting them on carpets and rugs at all costs.

"If the space heater's on and it's near carpet, it doesn't have three feet around it and folks are sleeping, it's just a recipe for disaster," said Lee Levesque, Lady's Island-St Helena Fire District.

And now that the holiday season is over, they also recommend getting rid of the Christmas trees as they've dried out and can spark a fire.

And if you have any questions about how to properly install your smoke detector or about fire safety in general, contact your local fire department.

If you haven't used your fireplace yet, firefighters recommend having it inspected first by a certified professional.

 Visit these sites for more information on safety during the Winter season:




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