PINE BELT, MS (WDAM) - Around this time every year, firefighters respond to fires that are caused by people who are just trying to keep their houses warm. Chip Brown from the Forrest County Fire gave us some tips on how you can be safe.
“This time of year calls usually do pick up for us,” said Brown.
With the cool nights rolling in, people start pulling their heaters out, lighting up their chimneys and using other appliances they have to battle the cold weather.
Though this is expected every year, Brown said folks in the Pine Belt should be careful and make sure however they’re heating up their homes, they do it safely.
“We want to make sure that when you get those fire places lit up, make sure to get the chimneys checked out before you light that fire in the fire place.,” Brown said.
He said the hotter months that chimneys and fire places go unused often enable birds to create nests posing a combustion hazard.
“When you get out that electric heater out of the closet, light it up make sure its not too close to the furniture," Brown said. “Make sure there’s no papers piled up near where you’re going to start up that electric heater.”
He adds when using the electric heaters keep the heaters five to 10 feet away from any material that could catch on fire. If materials are too close, that increase the danger.
“If you’ve got gas in your home, make sure your carbon monoxide batteries are good, make sure you’ve got carbon monoxide detectors in your home," Brown said. “Make sure there’s no gas leaks.”
Brown said professionals need to come and inspect whether its safe or not to use you gas heaters throughout your home.
He recalls a time where a large house fire due to an unsafe use of a heater caused two fatalities.
“A space heater was used to heat the home, an electric heater," Brown said. “It appears that the space heater was put to close to the furniture and caught the furniture and started the house on fire and they were unable to escape the home in the middle of the night.”
He says he wants residents throughout the Pine Belt to be cautions of how they warm their homes to avoid any tragedies like that one.
Brown adds that daylight savings is a good tool every year to remind you that you should check the batteries on your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.