House fires are an issue year round, but experts say they become more prevalent as the temperature drops.
Attempting to knock the winter edge off is a task all are faced with, but for some it can be deadly. “Heating fires kick up as people start turning on their furnace, start using fire places, start using alternative heating sources like space heaters.”
In fact, statistics show in the months of December, January, and February, alternative heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths, and injuries.
Gulfport Fire Chief Mike Beyerstedt says vigilance is the best line of defense in prevention. “With the holidays coming up, people are starting to decorate their house. Make sure those decorations are kept three feet away from fireplaces, from stoves, from anything that generates heat. If you have a fireplace maybe get that cleaned by a chimney sweep.”
Other tips include never using your oven to heat your home. Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed. Always make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.
Biloxi Battalion Chief Anthony Trosclair says if the worst should happen, be ready. “We asked everyone if they would have a family fire emergency plan. Everyone should have a plan, one meeting spot outside of the house to make sure everybody gets out safe and everyone’s accounted for.”
“Our public needs to be very, very cautious when doing these activities. They may be kind of dangerous because we don’t want to lose anyone.”