Winter Heating Advice to Prevent Fires
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
Firefighters are warning people to be careful warming their homes this winter after a rash of fires across the valley.
In just the past two weeks, there have been at least eight significant fires at homes across our desert.
Those blazes have left many families without shelter right in the middle of the holiday season.
When the temperature drops, the chances of a fire in your home goes up.
"I think across the board, generally in the cooler months, fires do increase," said Cathedral City Fire Captain Eric Hauser.
And the cooler temps this winter aren't helping.
"People have a tendency to utilize more heating appliances, central heating and so forth," said Battalion Chief Bonifacio De La Cruz with Calfire, Riverside County Fire Department.
Cathedral City Fire told us some of the main causes of home fires in the winter.
"Space heaters that are improperly used inside the home. Candles are used frequently, and they're not put on solid tables or surfaces and they get knocked over by children or pets, so candles are responsible, as well as the space heaters for fires this time of year," said Hauser.
Calfire showed us how to correctly use a space heater.
"Plug directly into the outlet, not using excessive array of extension cords," said De La Cruz.
And be careful not to overload your outlets, even if they are this circuit breaker type.
"Even though there's quite a few tabs here, it is designed to handle no more that 50 amps of electricity, which will overload it," said De La Cruz.
Don't use any open flame to heat your home.
Chimney's should be inspected once a year, and cleaned as needed.
Furnaces should also be checked at the start of the cold months.
Firefighters say it is crucial to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every six months.
"You want to make sure you have at least a carbon monoxide detector in the areas where you sleep and then make sure that all your gas burning appliances are burning cleanly and they are maintained," said Hauser.
So firefighters say a little preparation for the cold, can go a long way in keeping you and your family safe from fire.
Our local Red Cross chapter told us they have responded to about 25 percent more house fires than in previous years -- and that is taxing their resources.