COLD WEATHER SPARKS FIRE SAFETY TALK

Smoke Detector

Reporting by WVUA 23’s Caroline Wood

With frigid temperatures moving into west Alabama this week, residents may instinctively want to bundle up by the fire or by a space heater. However, fires can easily spark by leaving a heater on for too long or carelessly using the fireplace.

Having a smoke alarm that works increases chances of surviving a fire. Tuscaloosa’s Fire and Life Safety Educator, Holly Whigham, said checking the smoke alarm once a month is a way to increase those survival chances.

“If you have a smoke alarm in your home, your chances of surviving a fire increase by 50%,” Whigham said. “Residential fire sprinklers and a smoke alarm give you an 80% chance of survival in a fire. So make sure that you’ve got those smoke alarms and make sure that they’re working.”

Warming up by the space heater can also be dangerous if not done correctly. Leaving a heater unattended in the house could cause a fire. Whigham said that making sure the heater has enough room to operate safely is one way to prevent a fire from starting.

“One thing to remember with space heaters is that they need space,” Whigham said. “They need a 3-foot perimeter around the space heater itself away from furniture, curtains, clothing items, anything that can burn. And then whenever you leave your home or the room that space heater is, make sure that you turn that off.”

Tuscaloosa residents can call 311 to have their smoke detectors inspected or to have one installed in their home, free of charge.

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