Use caution to prevent fires

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Each winter, families across the country lose their homes to fire.

When temperatures dip into the high teens and low 20s, residents often do the best they can to stay warm.

The Selma Fire Department offers some tips to help you and your family stay safe this winter.

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Portable space heaters should be used with caution. Make sure they are at least three feet from other materials.

Do not try to dry wet clothes or towels with a space heater.

Do not use a gas stove as a heat source.

Even electric stoves should be used with caution. If the stove malfunctions and is not regulating heat properly, it can start a fire.

There is also a danger when materials are placed too close to a stove.

Overloading an outlet can be a danger, particularly when all the Christmas lights are plugged into a single extension cord.

Have fireplaces cleaned once a year, prior to the first use of the season.

Electric blankets can also start a fire. Make sure and turn off the blanket when you get out of bed.

Electric blankets are made to lay out flat. Often, people toss the covers into a ball when they wake up, which can cause the blanket to overheat and start a fire.

In addition, be careful with candles. Families have died in fires that officials believe started with burning candles.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, heating fires resulted in 125 deaths over a two-year period.

Heating is the second leading cause of residential fires, behind cooking fires, which increase during the holidays, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Use precautions and stay safe this winter and holiday season.