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10-25-05 – With the cold temperatures setting in, Texomans will be turning up the heaters, but so far this week, heating devices have started a number of fires. The Sherman Fire Department advises everyone to be safe, because any home is vulnerable to a heat-related fire.
“A common mistake is turning on a unit or starting to use a stove or fire place without checking it out,” says Chief Hendricks, of the Sherman Fire Department.
Chief Hendricks offers the following tips to keep your home safe:
- Store an electric blanket in a folded position, not wound up tightly.
- Level a blanket out on a bed, to prevent kinks in the wiring.
Gas and Electric Heating Units:
- It’s a good idea to have it checked by a certified technician before you start using the units every year.
- Before lighting a fire, have a chimney sweep take a look. They should check for loose bricks or mortar. A lot of fires are due to fires started in the studs next to fireplaces because of cracks in the mortar.
- Properly dispose of ashes.
- The first line of defense is on the ceiling: smoke and carbon monoxide detectors need fresh batteries, and alarm testing.
- Around 230 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Fire fighters also advise to keep children and pets away from heating devices, and be sure to place space heaters away from bedding, drapery or any other flammable object.