Fire chances increase approaching holidays

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With two weeks until Christmas, Oklahomans are now feeling the frigid temperatures of December.  

Officials with the Oklahoma Insurance Commission said the colder weather could cause a lot of damage to your home in the event of a fire.

Proper maintenance for your heating system is the best way to make sure your home is ready for the winter weather.

Last year, insurance companies paid out over $90 million in claims for fire-related damages.

The Oklahoma City Fire Department has a few tips to help protect your family and your property as you turn up the heat.

  • Keep flammable objects away from furnaces, fireplaces and other heating units.
  • Clean or replace the furnace filter and clean entire furnace area to remove debris.
  • Have heating units inspected by a licensed contractor.
  • Clean fireplaces and chimneys.
  • Before going to bed at night, check that fires are completely out and space heaters have proper ventilation.
  • Make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working properly. If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, get one.
  • Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.
  • Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.
  • If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry the amp load. TIP: Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.

Many fire department offer free smoke detectors, batteries and installation to residents who ask.

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