(WAFB) - With colder temperatures expected this weekend, the risk for house fires from improperly managed heating sources increases significantly.
"As a state that has its share of prolonged warm water, cooler temperatures have finally arrives, meaning that many will begin using heating devices, such as space heaters, which inherently leads to a greater chance of fires," said State Fire Marshal Butch Browning.
Browning also says that fire departments across the state have been responding to an increased number of house fires where heating devices are suspected as the cause. "Our investigators alone were called to investigate more than a dozen fires this past weekend," said Browning.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that between 2009 and 2013, heating equipment, including both gas and electric space heaters, accounted for 16 percent of all house fires in the country. In addition, space heaters were the cause of 84 percent of deaths that occurred in those fires.
Badly maintained chimneys and fireplaces came in second to space heaters as causes of house fire and deaths.
The state fire marshal makes the following recommendations when it comes to heating your home safely this winter.
- Do not place anything flammable, such as bedding, paper, or furniture, within three feet of any heating source.
- Do not use your oven to heat your house.
- When using an electric space heater, do not connect the heater to a power strip shared with other electronic devices.
- If using a gas space heater or fireplace, make sure carbon monoxide detectors are installed and functioning.
- Always turn space heaters off when leaving the room. Do not leave them unattended.
- Have the chimney inspected by a qualified professional before using the fireplace.
To keep an eye on how cold temperatures will be this winter, download WAFB's First Alert Weather app.