JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - With overnight temperatures getting into the lower 40s this weekend, fire officials are reminding families of safety tips to prevent house fires.
Jones County Fire Coordinator Dan McKenna said smoke detectors should be changed with time changes, and other checkups on home materials should be made as the weather changes and those items are needed.
He said proper cleaning and inspection of heaters, space heaters and chimneys is key to ensuring there is no foreign material that would catch fire when the items are used for the first time in nearly a year.
"Our common cause of fire in the winter months are heating devices," McKenna said.
He also encouraged checking the wiring of those devices, to make sure there are not any frayed cords. McKenna said when plugging in heaters, be conscious of only plugging them in directly to a wall outlet, as extension cords will build up heat and cause fire.
Additionally, be sure there are no loose or combustible items near a space heater. McKenna suggested using a three-foot rule around the heater.
According to State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney, home heating fires peak between 6-8 p.m., and associated deaths peak between 2-4 a.m.
Chaney said space heaters should never be used while sleeping or in areas where children are without adult supervision and should be turned off when no one is at home. Space heaters should also be unplugged when they are not in use.
McKenna said as the holidays approach, it is important to remember cooking safety, especially for frying turkeys.
"When you're frying a turkey, you want to make sure you're not on a combustible service," McKenna said. "Never take a frozen turkey and immerse it into the oil. That will automatically cause a fire."
He also said you should never be out of sight of the turkey while it is frying.
Even though Thanksgiving is not here yet, those who decorate for Christmas should also be aware of inspecting lights. McKenna said decorators should be aware of how many lights can be plugged into one unit or strung together, and regularly watering trees is important in preventing it from being more susceptible to catching fire.
McKenna reminded people to sleep with bedroom doors closed so that, in the event of a fire, it would not spread as quickly.
"The doors should be closed because if a fire starts, it will prevent the smoke from coming in and hopefully the detectors will alert you early enough so that you can escape," he said.
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