Warning from fire officials as colder air moves in

Published: Jan. 18, 2020 at 10:58 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -With the drop in temperatures, people might be hesitant to turn on their central heating systems and instead turn to other sources of heat.

“This time of year is our peak fire season. We see more fires during this time of year than any other time of year,” says Battalion Chief Sebastian Carrillo with the Birmingham Fire Department.

And that is often due to one of four things.

First is space heaters.

“They are not designed to be a permanent heat source.”

People tend to leave these running all day, and they can dry out any flammable material it’s near, potentially causing a fire.

“Keep anything from within three feet that could catch fire.”

Second thing to keep in mind, when you use a space heater, plug it directly into the wall instead of using a power strip, or worse, using a power strip plugged into another power strip, called a “daisy chain”.

“For one thing, the circuit breaker is designed to trip if anything malfunctions. And take a space heater and run it through a 50-foot extension cord, you’re allowing that 50 feet of cord to heat up and that could actually cause a fire.”

Third tip is don’t use your oven to heat the house.

“Once you allow that stove to overheat, the stove itself can catch fire. And at the bottom of every oven, a lot of times there’s grease and stuff that’ll flow out of pots that could catch fire as well.”

And finally, if you have one, make sure your chimney is clean before using it.

“They sell the logs at any home improvement store that are called chimney sweeps. We recommend that you burn one of those to burn off any cobwebs or bird’s nest or anything else.”

And remember the fire department will come out and test your smoke detector, or install one, free of charge.

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