The cold weather is here, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so many people are doing everything they can to keep their homes warm.
While the warmth is important, there are common mistakes made every year that can put families at risk.
Space heaters have been flying off the shelves at some hardware stores as people try to cope with the cold weather.
However, officials said one in every six house fires is caused by the heating device.
“Some people think 'it can never happen to me, I’m safe',” said Glastonbury Fire Chief Michael Thurz.
Space heaters are an easy way to heat up a home, but if used carelessly, things can quickly take a turn for the worst.
“You never want to just buy a heater and use it. You want to make sure you’re one step ahead of everybody. Because anything can happen at any time,” said Peter Bafumi, of Home Depot.
Fire officials said half of all home heating fires happen in December, January and February.
“Close to 900 deaths are attributed during the winter months due to some kind of fire in the residence,” Thurz said.
Space heaters come in several sizes, but typically just one per area is enough.
More than one in a room can be too hot, and space heaters can get up to 100 degrees.
An extension cord jammed into the wall can also cause problems. Plus, there should be a 3-foot radius around the heating unit.
Some heaters are even fueled with kerosene and propane, so people are advised to keep them away from vehicles.
Mistakes can also be made when using generators.
“Biggest thing is never have it running inside. A lot of people don’t know that. They assume its ok but it gives off fumes and it’s not good for you,” Thurz said.
He added that residents still don’t dispose of firewood properly, which can be deadly.
Let the embers cool before throwing them out, and just to be safe, don’t put them even a few feet from your home.
Thurz said in a matter of just six weeks there have been two major house fires in town.
The chief said the best bet is to have all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors checked when heating a home too.
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