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Valdosta Red Cross Chapter Encourages Safety When Heating Your Home

Jack Looney
Posted at 9:13 AM, Nov 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-18 09:13:00-05

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL)--Every eight minutes the American Red Cross responds to a disaster. They say most are home fires.

Red Cross volunteers say with temperatures dipping, it's important to have a plan in case your home catches fire.

They say heating sources are the second leading cause of home fire deaths.

"Last month, the South Georgia Chapter responded to 15 fires," Jack Looney, the disaster program manager for the South Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross . "But the good news is that there are steps you can take when using heating equipment to reduce your risk of a home fire."

The Red Cross released the following tips to stay safe this winter:

* All heaters need space. Keep children, pets and things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.

* Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.

* Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.

* Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.

* Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys inspected annually by a professional, and cleaned if necessary.

* If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.

For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information, visit redcross.org/homefires.