Fire safety tips to remember this winter

POSTED: Monday, November 12, 2012 - 6:51pm

UPDATED: Friday, March 1, 2013 - 1:48pm

The lows Monday night are some of the coolest we’ve seen yet this winter so naturally it's time to crank up the heat and light the fireplace. But because it's been months since some have used their heating appliances, it might be time for a safety brush up.

The number of house fires has been on the rise the last few weeks and the trend has fire officials concerned. With the temps dropping, people are trying to stay warm. But sometimes you need to re-evaluate how exactly your doing that.

"Unfortunately a lot of people get complacent they get the attitude it can never happen to me but it does," Curt Monte, Baton Rouge Fire Department, said.

Things like space heaters and centralized heating systems need to be double checked by professionals before using.

"We see some people heat their homes with their ovens or stoves; we don't recommend you do that, that's not what they are for," Monte added. 

When it comes to fireplaces, frequent cleanings are necessary and having a screen also helps keep the home safe.

"You want to make sure those embers stay in the fireplace where they are supposed to be," he continued.

One thing many people don't think about when it comes to safety in the winter is extension chords.

"We see so many times where people use an extension chord for a space heater and run it through an area rug. That's a big no-no. We don't recommend that you do that we have seen fires cued from that."

And if a fire were to spark, fire officials urge families to create an evacuation plan.

"There is nothing better than for a fireman when he shows up on a house fire on the scene knowing that everybody is out and safe. It certainly makes our job a lot easier," Monte noted.

So this winter, go over your plans and double check your appliances to make sure your home won't be in danger this season.

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