Local fire departments urge fire safety during winter storm

Posted at 3:17 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 20:09:36-05

CARROLTON, Va. - Many of you will be hunkered down and cozied up keeping warm in the snowstorm, and while many of you all have groceries and essentials to weather the snow, one thing you may be forgetting on your checklist is fire safety.

The U.S Fire Administration says heating is the second leading cause of all fires in the winter months.

If you are using a space heater, Scott Brower, deputy chief with Carrolton Volunteer Fire Department, says you should make sure it's at least 36 inches away from anything combustible.

"Also make sure you turn it off at night, when you go to bed, and look for a certified UL label that usually signifies it will cut off if it falls over," Brower said.

The U.S Fire Administration says space heaters account for two out of every five winter fires.

"During this time, you also want to make sure your smoke detectors are in working order, and also it's a good time to practice your fire escape plan," Brower said.

Brower said it's also important to check your carbon monoxide detector.

"Carbon monoxide is a silent killer -- it's colorless and odorless -- so if your house is using any type of device that is powered by any sort of fuel you need one, and need to check it," he said.

If you're using a fireplace to stay warm during the storm, make sure you have a screen so sparks don't fly into the room.

"You want to also make sure the wood you use is dry," Brower said. "Don't use pine but something that will burn cleanly."

Never use your stove or oven as a heating source. "It is not designed for that," Brower said. "People leave the oven open and turn it up on high and even put the burners on, that can be a huge problem."

And don't forget to check on your elderly friends and neighbors during the storm, as they could be alone or inside for several days on end.