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City of Bainbridge Offers Tips for Fire Safety When Heating Your Home

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Posted at 6:01 PM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 18:01:00-05

BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (WTXL) - Bainbridge Public Safety officials say as temperatures outside drop, families need to think about the risk of fires related to heating your home.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, about half of all home-heating fires happen during the winter months. The Association says, on average, heating equipment is involved in more than 62,000 reported US home structure fires per year.

Firefighters say nearly all of these fires are preventable.

The City of Bainbridge is offering some home heating tips so you can stay safe, and warm, this winter.

• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home so that when one sounds, they all sound. Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

• Be sure your home has both Photoelectric smoke alarms and Ionization smoke alarms or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms, also known as dual sensor smoke alarms.

• Practice your home fire escape drill - Exit Drills in the Home (E.D.I.T.H.).

• Have your chimney inspected each year by a qualified professional and cleaned if necessary.

• Use a sturdy fireplace screen to prevent sparks and hot embers from coming in contact with combustible items including carpet, wood flooring, furniture, and clothing.

• Allow ashes to cool before disposing. Dispose of ashes in a metal container.

• Space heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.

• Turn portable heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.

• Plug portable space heaters only into wall outlets with sufficient capacity, and never plug portable space heaters into an extension cord. Bainbridge Public Safety has seen an increase in fires due to extension cords being used to extend the length of cords for heaters inside residences.

• Inspect for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections. Replace before using.

• Install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.

• Never use an oven to heat your home.