Bitter Cold Spell Brings Reminder Of Heating Safety Tips

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MADISON, Ala.(WHNT)-The frigid temperatures that are expected to hit north Alabama overnight and into Tuesday are also serving as a safety reminder, with one local fire department urging residents to remember a few essentials that will keep you warm and safe.

Officials with the Madison Fire Department are asking residents to brush up on a few basic heating safety tips in light of temperatures that will likely be the coldest in several months. The first "big chill" of winter often corresponds with busy nights for firefighters, but they say many of those house fires are easily avoidable through the application of common sense.

"Many, many fire calls can occur," said MFD spokesman Morgan Sherrill. "Chimney fires, electrical hazards, improper wiring, carbon monoxide reports..."

Sherrill said some of the biggest cold weather fire-starters are improprely placed space heaters. They're popular for keeping the inside of your home nice and toasty, but officials say those who are putting them out for the first time in a while often forget that nothing should come within three feet of the heater.

"Children or animals knocking them over, keeping them away from combustible materials," said Sherrill. "Dust building up on them [space heaters] can also cause them to go up."

Fire officials also say attempting to heat your home by turning on an oven is an absolute no-no. Firefighers tell us you'd be surprised to know just how many people resort to this ill-advised method, one reason why they're emphasizing just how dangerous it can be.

"People will often try to heat their home with the oven," said Sherrill. "It can not only be a fire hazard with objects being placed on there, being left overnight, animals can get up on it, children can get up on it. Then you have not only a fire hazard but a medical hazard too."

Firefighters also remind you to make sure your smoke detectors are properly functioning in the event of an overnight fire.