LUBBBOCK Texas- As cold weather hits areas of the South Plains, experts offered advice on how to avoid an accidental fire.
Lieutenant Phillip Grandon said a frequent contributor of fires during the winter is the use of space heaters. He recommends keeping children, pets and other furniture away while it is on.
“People will use these and not be aware of what’s around them so they’ll have piles of clothes around them or just other types of things in the rooms,” he said. “So if you use a space heater most defiantly clear space around the heater so nothing can ignite.”
Lieutenant Grandon said during this time people try to keep pets warm, but that people should think twice about leaving heating devices in their dog homes.
“[People will] use heat lamps and a lot of times these are in their dog houses or sheds where there’s hay. Those types of things that can catch on fire,” he said. “Those heat lamps, even though it’s a light bulb or something, it can definitely catch stuff on fire.”
Lieutenant Grandon said he advises making sure that carbon monoxide detectors are working properly because carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent killer. He also said people should pay careful attention to how many things are being plugged into one outlet.
“Wall outlets can only [handle so much]. If you’re overloading the circuits that’s definitely another fire hazard, especially if you’re plugging in multiple heaters and a heated blanket or anything like that.”
For those using their chimney to keep their homes warm, he said to make sure the flue is off before staring the fire.
Susan McKelvey from the National Fire Protection Association said avoiding candles during a power outage is best. But if candles are necessary, people should proceed with extreme cautions.
“Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away,” she said. “If you’re going to use candles, make sure they’re on sturdy surfaces where they can’t be knocked over by people or pets.”
McKelvey said one of the most important things to remember to do with any heating device or tool is to make sure it’s turned off.
“When you’re not using them, turn them off. And that also means at night when you’re sleeping, when you go to sleep, don’t keep them on. That’s the time to turn your heaters off as well, she said.