Fire officials warns of safety hazards during cold months

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – With more winter weather on the way, having a warm home is essential, but fire officials are warning people to be aware of fire hazards.

Alan Thompson, the Fire Prevention Battalion Chief for the Upper Arlington Fire Division, said right now is the busiest time of year for fires. He said a lot of that is due to people trying to heat up their homes.

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Thompson said they often see people using space heaters incorrectly.  He said before plugging a space heater there are things to look for.

“So these devices should have a label on them that shows that they are listed or approved by a testing agency,” Thompson said.

He said these small devices can do big damage. He said those looking to buy one before the weather comes in should look for a newer version with a sensor on it.

“So the other thing is that if they tip over they should shut off to keep from catching something on fire. So this is a newer device that has a sensor that does that,” Thompson said.

He said to keep it at least three feet away from anything that can burn. That could be curtains, furniture, paper or even pets.

Thompson said to plug it directly into an outlet and not a powerstrip. He said space heaters draw too much electricity and can overheat the power strip causing a small fire.

Thompson said to never leave space heaters or candles unattended.

“So blow them out or take them with you so that they can’t get knocked over or burn all the way down and catch something on fire,” Thompson said. “They should be put in a safe container, a safe plate or a safe dish.”

Thompson also said to check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they have working batteries.

He said if there is an emergency the best thing to do is call your local fire department immediately.

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