|Updated: 10/08/2012 8:11 am
||Published: 10/07/2012 6:33 pm
The first cold snap of the season has many people turning on the heat for the first time. However before you do, the Little Rock Fire Department is warning people to take precautions to prevent fires.
Firefighters say space heaters are just one of the many causes of house fires during the winter months. Cpt. Edwin Woolf with the Little Rock Fire Department says people need to be careful where space heaters are placed in the home. Cpt. Woolf wants to make sure they're being used safely.
"We recommend everyone have their furnaces checked by a professional to make sure everything is operational and working properly." Cpt. Woolf says that includes chimneys. Cracks in the bricks can cause problems, so at least once a year it’s recommended chimneys are swept. The fire department asks everyone to dispose of ashes properly to make sure they're fully extinguished.
The biggest concern Cpt. Woolf has in the winter months are space heaters. "They're dangerous if you don't use them properly. 36 inches is what we like to recommend between a space heater and flammables."
The Little Rock Fire Department hasn't had any house fires due to negligence this weekend, but Cpt. Woolf says it's only a matter of time before someone loses their home in a fire that could have been prevented. "If everyone takes safety precautions it will cut down on the fires we have."
According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment caused more than 58,000 house fires in 2009, resulting in nearly 500 deaths, and $1.1 billion dollars in damage.
With Halloween coming up, the fire department wants people to be mindful of candles. According to the National Fire Protection Association, candles started close to 10 thousand house fires in 2010.