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Keep warm and stay safe this winter season with these tips

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO) – With temperatures dropping to the low 10’s and 20’s, and overnight temperatures even lower, it’s important to exercise caution when using alternative heating methods.

State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson advises Hoosiers to take precautions when alternative heating sources are used to keep homes warm and cozy.

When using space heaters or other alternative heating:

  • Avoid using space heaters and other alternative heating if possible.
  • Keep at least three feet of space in-between heaters and other objects at all times.
  • Space heaters should be kept away from loose or flammable objects such as clothing, curtains, bedding and furniture.
  • Only one space heater should be plugged into an electrical outlet at a time – more than one can cause fire hazards.
  • Do  not leave space heaters on in unoccupied rooms.
  • If you must purchase a space heater, consider purchasing one with built-in tilt sensors that automatically shut it off if tipped over.
  • Refuel kerosene space heaters outside the home in a well-ventilated area.
  • Appliances like over should never be used for heating – it may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Fireplace tips:

  • Fireplaces should be regularly cleaned and inspected by a certified professional.
  • Gas fireplaces should have proper ventilation, with a working carbon monoxide detector nearby.
  • Use dry, seasoned firewood to prevent build-up of creosote, which can prevent the chimney from venting properly.
  • Do not close the damper too early when hot ashes are still in the fireplace.
  • Avoid using flammable liquid to start fires in fireplaces or wood stoves.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher on-hand in case the fire gets out of control.

Marshal Greeson strongly advises Hoosiers to remember to keep working smoke alarms in their homes at all times.

“Test your smoke alarm to make sure it works,” said Greeson in a press release. “Even if it responds correctly, if you don’t remember the last time you changed your batteries, do it today. If you don’t have a smoke alarm, buy one and install it. If you don’t have the funds, contact your local fire department, Red Cross or social service agency to see if one can be provided.”

For more tips on smoke alarms, fire safety and alternative heating safety, visit GetPrepared.in.gov.

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