Fire official gives tips for fire safety during colder temperatu - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Fire official gives tips for fire safety during colder temperatures

(Source: WMBF News) (Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – As those cooler temperatures begin to take over, you may find yourself turning off the air conditioner and switching on the heat, but it’s important to make sure you’re being safe about it.

Public Information Officer with Horry County Fire Rescue said they have already received a handful of calls this year to homes where the heat has kicked on in the middle of the night and the dust on the furnace has started to burn and creates smoke.

According to Nugent, homeowners can avoid this by opening their windows midday while the weather is still nice, turning on their heat, and letting that dust burn off while they air out their home.

If you have a space heater in your home, it’s important to remember to shut that device off if you leave your home or when you go to bed. If it’s an electric heater, Nugent said do not plug it into an extension cord, because they were not made for that.

One rule of thumb that Nugent said is good to remember is keeping anything "three feet from the heat."

“At nighttime people may put them in a bedroom and you start getting warm and don’t realize it and in the middle of the night you start kicking the blankets and stuff off the bed and they fall on the heater,” said Nugent.

It’s a good idea to get your furnace checked out but also have a safety plan. Make sure there are two exits out of every room, make family or group members aware of the plan, but most importantly, practice it.

"If you don't practice it, it’s not going to go off like you want it to. So practice with your family. Make them go through those steps. I tell them all the time, catch a night where they don't have to wake up the next morning for school - a Saturday night or Friday night - and wake them up with the smoke alarm,” Nugent said, “Mom and dad, push that button and see what they do. You'd be surprised."

Nugent said it’s also good to make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your house as well.

For more information on how to create a safety plan, click here.

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