Chilly temperatures pose increased risk of fires in LA

Published: Nov. 22, 2016 at 2:28 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2016 at 2:31 AM CST
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LOUISIANA (KSLA) - As cooler temperatures continue to move in throughout the area, officials are warning residents that with cold weather comes an increased risk of fires.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that from 2009 to 2013, heating equipment, which includes both electric and gas-fueled spaced heaters, accounted for 16 percent of all home fires in the United States. Space heaters were reportedly the cause of 84 percent of the deaths that occurred in those fires.

According to State Fire Marshal H. "Butch" Browning, in a one-week period fire departments across the state of Louisiana experienced an increase in the number of fires where heating devices are suspected as the cause.

"Our investigators alone were called to investigate more than a dozen fires this past weekend," Browning said.

Poorly maintained or managed fireplaces and chimneys were a close second to space heaters in home fires and civilian deaths.

In order to enjoy the changes in temperature and to stay warm this winter without the worry of fires, the State Fire Marshal's Office recommends observance of the following guidelines:

  • Do not place anything flammable, such as furniture, bedding, and paper products within three (3) feet of any heating source, such as space heaters, ovens, stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Do not use ovens to warm your house.
  • When using an electric space heater, do not connect the heater to an extension cord or to a power strip shared with other electronic devices.
  • If using a gas-powered space heater or fireplace, make sure that carbon monoxide detectors are installed in strategic locations in the home or business.
  • Always turn space heaters off when leaving the room. Never leave heaters or fireplaces unattended.
  • Before using a fireplace, the chimney should be inspected by a qualified professional.

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