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As the temperature drops, South Carolinians tend to turn on space heaters or enjoy the warmth from a fireplace.
With that in mind, State Fire Marshal Jonathan Jones is urging citizens to be especially careful as this time of year is historically dangerous for residential fires and fire deaths. “Each season brings with it changes in the weather and our daily habits,” Jones said. “However, the risk of fire always increases anytime heaters are turned on and fireplaces are in use. As such, we need to remain vigilant about fire safety, especially since our statistics reveal more home fires occur during the winter months than during any other part of the year.”
In our state, during last year’s winter months, there were 29 fatal fires resulting in 33 fire deaths. Ten of those
fatalities, or 30 percent, were heating related. South Carolinians can reduce their risks of becoming a fire casualty by identifying potential hazards. Jones offers the following tips to keep homes and families safe this winter season:
feet rule” and don’t let pets or children play too close to the heater.
when not in use.
odorless and deadly carbon monoxide. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to prevent death from carbon
never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home. Use sturdy candle holders and extinguish upon leaving a
room or going to sleep.
and dried wood.
cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
Never put ashes in a cardboard box or bag.
filled with highly flammable layers of creosote.
Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home - inside and outside of sleeping areas. Also, sleep with the bedroom door closed. Closing the door can increase your chance for survival by slowing the spread of fire and smoke. “Every second counts when escaping a fire,” Jones said. “Take a few minutes to test and check your smoke alarms. If any of the alarms are more than 10 years old, they need to be replaced.”
Lastly, if there is a fire emergency, call 9-1-1 as soon as possible and remain outdoors. Never return inside a burning building for any reason.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Fire Academy, and the Emergency Response Task Force make up the Division of Fire and Life Safety, which is a division of the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.