Cold weather heating safety tips

With the temperatures dropping many of you will be doing your best to stay warm over the next couple days. But, are you also putting yourself at risk of a fire?

Cold weather heating safety tips

POOLER, Ga. (WTOC) - It seems to be like clockwork.

Cold air moves in and like Kanisha Mitchelle says, "we have to use space heaters now to kind of stay warm.”

Which unfortunately means the amount of house fires increases.

Pooler Fire Chief Wade Simmons tacks up the increase to two things.

First he says simply, "people forget (about fire safety).”

The other common excuse he hears, “I’ve done it this way 20, 30, 50 years, we’ve always done it this way. I’ve never had a problem with it.”

Until, you do.

Which is exactly what Chief Simmons is hoping to avoid.

Of course, the most commonly used heat sources are space heaters. Which can help, if you keep some simple tips in mind.

For starters Chief Simmons reminds us they are not designed to run for 24-hours.

Secondly, anything flammable should be at least three feet away from the heater at all times.

Finally, if items like blankets, clothes, or paper do get within three feet, chances are they will catch on fire.

When it comes to space heaters there are safe ways to use them.

However, when it comes to unconventional means of heating like an over, the answer is simple.

“Absolute no, no, under no circumstances is it ever designed to do that," said Chief Simmons, "Don’t put your life or the life of others at risk by trying to use an oven to heat your house.”

That’s because gas ovens left on can lead to carbon monoxide poising.

As for electric ovens, while safer, if left unattended run the risk of an electrical malfunction leading to a fire.

If you like to go more old school for heat, like using a fireplace, again, it comes down to using them correctly.

“It’s extremely important that every season before you go into using those is have them examined make sure everything is okay,” said Chief Simmons.

The main take away, whether it’s a space heater, your fireplace or even electric blanket keep in mind none of those are designed to be your main heat source.

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