Fire experts share fire prevention tips during colder months

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 4:14 PM CST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - It’s feeling more fall-like outside, but amidst the pandemic, more Americans are staying home than usual.

This could mean more chances for residential fires to start especially as we head into the cooler months.

Heating is the second leading cause of fires at home in the country behind cooking-related fires, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

“It’s inevitable that once we get into those colder months, we’re going to see people using alternative heating source,” said Deputy Chief Ricky Shores with Columbus Fire and EMS.

Shores reminds residents to follow a few fire safety tips while trying to stay warm this fall and winter.

“If you’re going to use an alternative heating source in the home, like a space heater, you want to make sure that you keep that device in a very safe area away from pets. Make sure that it’s at least three feet away from any combustible surface such as curtains or any type of linen, any type of paper,” he said.

Shores encourages people using space heaters to not have extension cords stretched across the floor where they’re constantly being walked over or having furniture moved on top of them. He said sometimes that can cause a spark and be the cause of a fire.

According to Shores, you should have two ways to get out of each part of your house and make sure the back door isn’t blocked. He also advises people not use ovens and stoves as sources of heat.

Shores has a few reminders for heating sources that produce Carbon Monoxide.

“You want to make sure that if you have a flame-producing product in your home, whether it’s a gas furnace or a gas flame gas stove top, or some type of gas producing appliance, you want to make sure that it’s annually serviced by a licensed professional and that it’s vented properly,” explained Shores.

Nationally, Shores said people 65 years and older are at a greater risk for loss of life and significant injury from a fire.

“Make sure they got a working smoke detector outside the area where they’re sleeping at and we recommend if that smoke detector is over 10 years old, if it’s working or not, you really need to replace it with a new device,” Shores said.

Shores said smoke detectors should be checked monthly.

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