Home fire safety tips as temperatures fall into the 30s

VIDEO: Home fire safety tips as temperatures fall into the 30's

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston Fire Department expects a busy weekend as temperatures dip into the low 30s. Fire officials are offering some home safety tips as you turn up the heat, pulling out space heaters and maybe even those electric blankets.

As the temperatures drop, the 911 centers heat up with a spike in calls.

"We do see an influx of calls during this time just because people are using an alternative heating method or starting those furnaces for the first time," explains Ryan Kunitzer, a community educator with the Charleston Fire Department.

Kunitzer says that odor you smell when you turn on the heat for the first time is, usually, dust burning off, but he says if you suspect a fire, don't hesitate to call 911.

He says space heaters are very popular and encourages people to buy ones that are rated nationally.

"If you're buying a space heater or any type of heating equipment the best thing is to make sure that it is recognized by a national standard testing laboratory. You'll see marks on the actual containers or the boxes that you buy the things in that tells you that it has been tested to a national standard."

He says if you use your fire place make sure to get rid of hot ashes in a metal container and do some yearly maintenance.

"When it comes to chimneys or central heating, it's good to have a professional come out and do an annual inspection on it to make sure that's it's running properly."

Kunitzer also recommends installing a carbon monoxide alarm on each floor of your home.

"During the winter when things like natural gas appliances, propane appliances, stuff like that get used more, we do see an up tick in calls and carbon monoxide alarms."