AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo Fire Department typically sees a spike in fires this time of year, especially home heating fires between December and February.
According to AFD Community Liaison Jeff Justus, at least a third, if not half, of the fires they see this time of year are caused by a heat source.
“Don’t leave any sort of heating source on when you go to bed. Turn it off, unplug it. Lighting candles, things like that, plugging in lights, especially around Christmas time, just be careful with those kind of things,” Justus said. “Again, don’t neglect it. Blow out the candles when you leave, when you leave the room in fact. But during the holidays, we see a lot more fires because people are distracted.”
Justus said you should never heat your home with an oven or by using a stove as it is extremely dangerous.
“If your apartment complex has the heating system go out, you know, then they should have to find someplace for you to go stay during the winter months,” he said.
He also said space heaters cause more fires than any other heat source.
“You never want to use a space heater and have anything within three feet of it. You don’t want to have it plugged into an extension cord. You don’t want to have clothes piled around it. you don’t want to have kids playing around the space heater,” Justus continued. “You want to make sure you get a space heater that works properly, and they, a lot of them, now have a tipping mechanism that will automatically shut it off if it does get tipped over.”
He said if you are going to use a fireplace, clear the space in front of it so if any embers come out, there is nothing to catch fire. He also suggests using a fireplace screen and taking other precautions.
“Make sure that you have working smoke detectors in your home. Make sure you test them regularly,” Justus said. “If you have gas appliances, make sure you have a CO detector.”
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