YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The American Red Cross is warning neighbors about the increased risk of fires during the cold winter months.
Over 62,000 fires are reported annually in the United States. Portable heaters and wood burners account for 74 percent of fire-related deaths.
The Red Cross is urging everyone to have a smoke detector, which can reduce fatalities by almost 50 percent.
Electrical issues are also a problem, especially during the holidays. Care should be taken when stringing lights and decorations that require electricity.
“The big thing for us this time of year is when people start putting up Christmas lights and Christmas trees and all those sorts of things,” said Captain Will Ferrando. “Just make sure you don’t leave them unattended and make sure they are unplugged if you fall asleep.”
Also, if a space heater is being used, make sure nothing is blocking it and never put anything near it that could catch fire. It’s best to purchase a space heater that automatically shuts off if it is tipped over, and never plug a space heater into an extension cord.
Other tips include: (Source: American Red Cross)
- Keep all potential sources of fuel – paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs – at least three feet away from sources of heat.
- Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended.
- Place space heaters on a level, hard and nonflammable surface. Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over.
- Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
- Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen.