SPRING – Anticipated cold weather has fire officials in Spring warning residents about dangerous methods they may use to warm up, especially since they’ve already responded to more fires in 2022 than this time last year.
Now, they’re asking for the public to help keep the number of calls down.
“People kind of felt the initial winter bite, but we’ve got a really nasty bite coming in over the next few days,” said Spring District Fire Chief, Chris vonWiesenthal.
He and his teams are bracing to be busy.
This January, Spring firefighters responded to 57 fires. That’s up almost 20 compared to last January.
With frigid weather on the horizon, there are concerns people will do whatever it takes to stay warm, even if it’s unsafe.
Firefighters saw this type of scenario play out days ago at a vacant home on Spring Steubner.
“The homeless folks were inside taking shelter and had lit some kind of fire to stay warm. That fire got out of control,” vonWiesenthal said.
He said the best way to heat a home is through an HVAC system, but he knows that’s not always an available option. Some people may use supplemental heating devices.
“Things like space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves,” he said.
vonWiesenthal said improper use of those could also cause flames to spark.
Here are some safety tips:
Space heaters should be placed no closer than three feet from anything flammable, such as paper or cloth.
If you’re using a fireplace or woodstove, make sure it’s properly maintained, and never use lighter fluid or gasoline to help ignite flames because that could cause the flames to spread too much.
One of the most important safety features that one could have in their home is a basic smoke detector, check with your local fire department. If you don’t have one, many will come out and install them for free.
When you go to sleep, your olfactory glands cannot sense smell. That’s why you have to have an audible smoke alarm, which wakes people up and gives them time to escape.
Carbon monoxide is also a possible byproduct of fire. It’s odorless but could be deadly. Both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms need to be replaced every 10 years.
Visit NFPA.org for more fire safety tips.
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