With temperatures dropping and the season changing, the Copperas Cove Fire Department is warning residents to take some steps to help prevent fires.
“When we have a change of the season, some of our habits and things we do change,” said Deputy Fire Chief and Fire Marshal Mike Fleming. “We want to dust the cobwebs off and make sure things are in good working order and safe to use.”
As the weather gets cooler, residents will be more inclined to stay inside and use items such as heaters, fireplaces and furnaces to stay warm, a department news release stated.
It is better to prepare and have those items inspected in the fall than waiting for the winter’s first cold snap when those items will be used, Fleming said.
“It is like anything else you want to plan and prepare ahead of time,” Fleming said. “If you inspect your heaters and fireplaces a couple of months ahead of time, then you may have more time to pay for a fix if there is a problem.”
Furnaces can have gas leaks, fireplaces can have interior damage and electric heaters could experience wiring issues, Fleming said. All those can lead to fires that could have been prevented.
If the fire department can raise awareness of seasonal maintenance and prevent a blaze before it starts, it has done a better job than fighting that possible fire, Fleming said.
Another good seasonal tip is to check your smoke detectors, Fleming said.
“(Smoke alarms) are what saves your life,” he said.
Fire safety tips
Officials offered the following seasonal fire safety tips:
Service your furnace.
Before the cold autumn and winter weather sets in, be sure to call your heating and cooling company to service your furnace. A specialist should inspect the furnace to make sure everything is in working order and there are no leaks.
Use fireplaces safely.
Keep fires in their proper place by using a fireplace screen to keep sparks from flying out of the fireplace. Never leave a burning fire unattended and make sure a fire in a fireplace is completely out before going to bed.
Use caution with space heaters.
A space heater can be an effective way to warm up a chilly room, but it’s essential you read the instructions on the unit before you use it. If your space heater requires venting, make sure you have vented it to the outdoors.
Never use your stove or oven to heat your home. Only use space heaters approved for their purpose. Always allow at least 3 feet of empty area around space heaters.
Exercise candle caution.
Candles are a great way to give a room a warm glow, but they can also cause fires.
Never leave candles burning if you go out or go to sleep, and keep your candles away from pets and children.
Change smoke alarm batteries.
Change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors when you turn back your clocks for Daylight Saving Time. Make sure to check the alarms with the new batteries installed. Check and replace any home fire extinguishers that have expired.