Staying safe while heating your home this winter

Massachusetts

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – On a frigid night, you might want to plug in a heater or light a few extra candles.

But, a warning from the U.S Fire Administration: more than 900 people die in winter house fires every year. As the winter months move in, house fires become much more common.

In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can turn into a major fire. Cooking is the leading cause of fires in the winter, and heating is the second.

West Springfield Fire Lt. Michael Dickson told 22News, “Usually around this time of year you see the uptick in fires because of space heaters, people using different kinds of woods in their chimney that react and start chimney fires, poor house cleaning and keeping.”

Space heaters can be useful when heating a small area, however, they can be extremely dangerous. It’s important to use them properly.

Dickson noted, “Space heaters, make sure they aren’t your primary source of heat. Unplug them when you leave your home, or when you go to bed at night.”

With the holidays coming up, many people decorate their houses with different decorations and lights. However, if you don’t use proper equipment it could lead to a fire.

Dickson told 22News, “If you are going to use extension cords, especially this time of year with Christmas and whatnot, we tell you to use rated extension cords, especially the heavy-duty ones that you get at Home Depot. Try to stay away from ones at your local drugstores and the smaller ones, they don’t have that rating.”

Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors save lives. Always make sure they are working properly and have full batteries.

If you’re ever woken up during the night by smoke, fire, or even just an alarm, exit your house immediately and call 911.

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