Fire experts' tips for keeping your family warm and safe

Fire experts' tips for keeping your family warm and safe

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Experts are asking families to take extra caution as the cold temperatures continue, to stay warm and safe when it comes to heating your home.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February.

"We've started off with more fires in 2016," Ryan Kunitzer, of City of Charleston Fire Dept. said.

Kunitzer said officials haven't seen heating-related fires this year but are advising locals to take extra caution as the temperatures d rop.

"When the temperatures lower, we want to be sure people stay safe. We want to make sure people using space heaters are using them safely, keeping three to five feet away from anything combustible. Not heating your house with your oven. When people start using other heat sources, that can cause fires."

The Red Cross has already assisted 71 people in the Lowcountry this year for home fires.

They assisted nearly 1,200 people in 2015.

Tips include:

-Keep space heaters three feet of any combustibles
-Never use your oven or stove for heating purposes
-Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
-Dispose of fireplace ashes in a metal container and place the container away from combustible materials or construction for 2-3 days before disposal. Never place hot ashes in the trash.
-Allow kerosene heaters to cool and remove them to the outdoors before refueling.
-Install smoke alarms on every floor and inside and outside of bedrooms
-Don't forget carbon monoxide alarms
-Make and practice an escape plan for your family
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