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Winter weather tips: fire safety

Photo courtesy of the Mississippi Forestry Commission.

As winter weather approaches this weekend, make sure that the family is staying safe in the home with proper heater usage and make sure that the smoke alarms have batteries.

State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney said that space heaters can be extremely dangerous.

“If you have a space heater, be very careful not to put it too close to heaters, a stack of newspapers, or any flammable material,” Chaney said. “Improper use of space heaters and the wrong extension cord causes a lot of fires and fire deaths and improper extension cords extended out and connected to a 15-ounce circuit in the wall can kill you. I can give cases and cases of people that have died using extension cords in the state of Mississippi and having no working smoke alarm. A working smoke alarm can save your life. It reduces fire deaths by 50% when people have a working smoke alarm.”

In addition, the Red Cross has provided a list of tips that families and individuals can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire:

  • If someone doesn’t have smoke alarms, install them. At a minimum, put one on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Local building codes vary and there may be additional requirements where someone lives.
  • If someone does have alarms, test them today. If they don’t work, replace them.
  • Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to get out of every room and how to get out of the home in less than two minutes.
  • Practice the fire escape plan. What’s the household’s escape time?

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