MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The American Red Cross is reminding people to take precaution when heating their homes during extremely cold temperatures that will affect South Carolina this weekend.
The Red Cross said to be cautious when using space heaters and other heating sources, and advising people to make a plan in case of a home fire. Heating sources is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths and fatal home fires during the winter months, according to the Red Cross.
Executive Director with the American Red Cross of Eastern SC said, "While the cold forecast for us will be short in duration this time, it's a reminder that winter is not over yet."
The Red Cross said fatal fires peak in the early morning hours when most people are sleeping.
The Red Cross is recommending families follow these procedures:
- Use caution with portable space heaters
- To prevent fire, place space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible, including wallpaper, bedding, clothing, pets, and people.
- Never leave space heaters operating when you are not in the room or when you go to bed.
- Don't leave children or pets unattended near space heaters.
- Drying towels, wet mittens, or other clothing over space heaters is a fire hazard.
- Don't overload your electrical outlets when plugging in space heaters. Be careful of extension cords that present hazardous walkways.
- Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly and replace batteries as necessary.
- Use glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
- Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended.
- Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
- Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys inspected annually by a professional, and cleaned if necessary.
- Every household should develop a fire escape plan and practice it several times a year and at different times of the day.
- Include two ways to get out of every room and consider escape ladders for sleeping areas or homes on the second floor or above.
- Pick a place outside for everyone to meet and make sure everyone knows where it is.
- Practice that home fire drill until everyone in the household can do it in less than two minutes.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test them every month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
For more information on safety tips from the American Red Cross visit www.redcross.org/SC.