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Winter Raises Risk of Fire, Carbon Monoxide Issues

December 30, 2013, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Winter Raises Risk of Fire, Carbon Monoxide Issues

Fires in a home are not dependent on a season. It doesn't have schedule and it is often unexpected.
The number of house fires, on the other hand, seems to spike when the temperatures get closer to zero.

"In the colder months, people start using space heaters and even during the holidays, they use candles and things like that and people are spending more time inside their home than they are outside," Sioux Falls Fire Rescue's Mike Top said.

Also on the rise this time of year is the risk of dealing with a silent killer: carbon monoxide.

"When you've got the furnace running and people are using fire places, definitely the carbon monoxide calls that we receive are predominantly in the winter months," Top said.

Taking steps to protect yourself and your family can be simple. Keeping a watch on any lit candles and making sure nothing is touching the space heater will lessen the chances of a fire. Regular maintenance of your furnace will help against carbon monoxide.

"Have your furnace checked up by a professional.  Check up the furnace to make sure that things are working the way they're supposed to," Top said.

As a back-up, be absolutely sure that your detectors are in working order.

"It's when you're sleeping at night and you're just unaware of those things, and you go to sleep and unfortunately you might not wake up, so having that alarm there to wake you up, to let you know that there's danger in the home," Top said.

There is an increased risk of a fire by having space heaters and candles in your home, but knowing how to properly use them will make your winter months much safer.

"That's a very easy thing to do and it's a good, it's good and it could save your life. Stay with the things that you're using and hopefully have a good and safe winter season," Top said.

While it is easy to blame candles and heaters for a fire, Top says some of the more common causes of a fire in the winter are related to cooking or smoking. Not ignoring what is on the stove can go a long way in preventing a fire.

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