Fire officials urge quick safety check of heaters and fireplaces

Fire officials urge quick safety check of heaters and fireplaces

North Charleston - According to the North Charleston Fire Department, 3,000 people die in fires every year, most in their own home. Officials say the cause most of the time is no working smoke detector or no smoke detector at all.

"Replace it every ten years, change the batteries at least once a year and push the test button once a month to make sure the alarm itself will sound," explains Bianca Bourbeau of the North Charleston Fire Department.

Fire officials say now is a perfect time to do check-up on some home appliances.

"When those cold snaps hit, we have to be much more aware of how we're heating our homes and those appliances and devices that we use to do it with."

They say maintenance on a fireplace should also be done at least once a year.

"The fireplace should be checked by a chimney sweep, so that they get a chance to get in the chimney and make sure there are no critters, make sure that there are no cracks in the flue and that the flue has actually been cleaned out."

Bourbeau says if you have kids around, make sure there is a boundary between them and the heat source.

"Three-foot of safety zone with a space heater. This is the same thing you do with the kitchen. Three-foot of no kid zone at the stove, you have three-foot of no kid zone at the space heater."

She also urges families and individuals to have a fire drill and come up with an escape plan. She says in a fire our senses are compromised.

"It's dark. You can't see. You have to crawl to find your way out of the building. You can get lost in your own home."