Keep safe in mind, when keeping warm

By Tiffany Blackmon - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The cold weather we are expecting has many people trying to find ways to stay warm.

However, often times beating the cold can be a challenge for some, and before you turn the heat up there are a few things you should know.

Captain Jeremy LeBlanc of the Lake Charles Fire Department stated, "There is a significant spike in this time of year for local house fires."

If you are cold, the solution is to turn up the heat... easy enough if you have central heating, but those who don't, are forced to find alternative ways to stay warm that can be dangerous.

Alice Stevens said, "We have our space heaters, and we have them in various places through the house."

Space heaters are a common way families like Alice's beat the winter chill, but they can cause fires if used incorrectly.

"You want to keep any type of space heater at least 3 ft. away from anything that can catch fire or is combustible," said LeBlanc.

Alice uses her space heaters correctly, but like so many others, she finds the heat they provide is not enough. So, she turns to her stove for extra heat.

"It gets really cold in here, really cold. I know it's not safe, and I also know it's energy consuming, but you've got to do what you've go to do," she said.

"You don't want to just open the door to your stove to heat the kitchen area, a lot of accidents can occur," stated LeBlanc.

48% of fires start in the kitchen. It's also important to know that before a fire truck pulls up to your home, an early warning device like a smoke detector, can alert you to get out.

LeBlanc stated, "Please make sure smoke detectors are operating properly, and test them once a month."

You are also strongly encouraged to get a smoke detector if you don't already have one.

Alice did not have a smoke detector in her home, but she now plans to get one.

"Yes, because I like being safe," she said.

LeBlanc stated, "The cold weather is upon us, just please be smart, pay attention, and always be aware of your surroundings."

LeBlanc strongly recommends the only alternative method you should use to stay warm, is a space heater, preferably one that has an automatic shut off, should it fall or be left on for a long period of time.

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