Beating the cold: how to safely operate space heaters and fireplaces at home

PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - Pineville firefighters may be quick on their feet, but it's easy to help keep their work load light.

As temperatures drop, many are unpacking rarely used space heaters and stocking up on wood.

"People will buy the cheap heaters," said Pineville Chief of Fire Prevention Casey Cummings. "They will also plug them into extension cords, just to get them into the center of the room where they need them."

Instead, to avoid any incidents, Cummings said plug them directly into the wall, making sure they have a 'UL' label.

"Being UL tested they are going to have a tilt switch on them, which means if the heater tilts over it will shut off," Cummings said.

And before logs find their way into the fireplace, get it checked out.

"They need to have a licensed professional come in, clean them and check for any cracks in the mortar," Cummings said.

But, another fire hazard this time of year ignites in 5 to 10 seconds.

"Quicker than you can react," said Pineville Firefighter/ Paramedic Shane Guillory

In a matter of minutes Guillory said dry Christmas trees can engulf a house in flames.

"You can feel the heat from approximately 30 feet away," Guillory said. "And feeling the heat that far away you can imagine what it would do to your drapes or curtains, and how fast it can catch them on fire."

While they look nice, once needles start to fall firefighters said that tree needs to go.

"Throughout the holidays people like to keep them up, but if you are not going to maintain the water in it you need to probably get it out of the house," said Pineville Fire Department Captain Kenneth Guillory.

As you ride out the winter weather keep these safety tips in mind and grab a free smoke detector.

"Anybody that doesn't have one can contact their local fire department," Cummings said. "There is a grant through the Fire Marshals Office that most fire departments are working with, and we supply smoke detectors to the families."

These tips could keep local firefighters from paying your house an unexpected visit.



 
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