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Fire officials urge residents to check home heating equipment ahead of colder weather

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 7:12 PM CDT
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PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) - As fall weather begins moving into the Pine Belt and temperatures begin to dip, people begin heating their homes.

Sources of heat are often overlooked and sometimes neglected, which can present a serious fire threat.

Fire officials suggest taking preventative measures by double-checking all heating sources in the home to ensure not only that the equipment is operational but doesn’t present a fire hazard as well. Smoke alarms in the home have also proven to save lives, and now is a good time to make sure they have new batteries in them.

Petal Fire Chief Joe Hendry said his department is offering free smoke detectors to those in need and will even install them.

City residents can also call the Petal Fire Department for a free home fire safety check to keep you and your home safe during the winter.

“Everybody’s home is unique, everybody has got different things but as we spend our time at home, we take for granted and run by those things that you just don’t think about,” Hendry said.

“If you live there, you take them for granted but if you get a fresh set of eyes to come in and look at it, you may have something brought to your attention that you’re not aware of that you see every day,” Hendry said.

“We might can help bring something that would help them in the long run with safety, especially fire safety,” Hendry added.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, home heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires and the third leading cause of home fire deaths.

Here are a few helpful tips for getting your home ready for the winter:

  • Before lighting a wood stove or fireplace, have the chimneys and furnaces professionally inspected annually and cleaned.
  • Keep all flammable objects at least three feet from flames and heaters that have heating elements in them.
  • Never use flammable liquids to start or accelerate a fire in a fireplace or woodstove.
  • Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, this might be a fire hazard.
  • Keep generators outside and away from windows. Keep them as far away as possible from your home to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.
  • Never use a range or an oven for heating. Not only is it a safety hazard, but it can also be a source of carbon monoxide.
  • For those using electrical heaters, plug only one heater into a wall outlet at a time to avoid overloading the circuit. Never use an extension cord unless it’s an emergency.
  • Consider installing carbon monoxide detectors.

Finally, have a fire emergency evacuation plan. Go over the details of this plan with all who live in the home and make it adaptable for various fire scenarios. Include a meet-up point somewhere outside.

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