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Staying safe and warm during the winter months

Heater fire

OKLAHOMA CITY – As cooler temperatures begin to flood the state, residents are reminded to follow simple steps to make sure they stay safe and warm this winter.

Heating sources, like space heaters, fireplaces and stoves, are the leading cause of house and apartment fires during the winter months.

The American Red Cross recommends that you keep anything that can burn, like paper, bedding or furniture, at least three feet away from heating equipment and fireplaces.

Also, never leave those unattended.

Since Nov. 1, officials say they have responded to 10 house fires and one apartment fire.

Janienne Bella, Central and Western Oklahoma Red Cross Regional CEO, said, “We tend to see more house fires as it cools down, so we encourage the community to follow some simple steps to help prevent fires.”

The Red Cross is also offering the following tips:

  • All heaters need space.  Keep all things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.
  • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and non flammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.