RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — As the winter storm continues in South Dakota, it’s important that people stay home and stay warm. However, that also means it’s vital to be aware of heating sources in your home.
From a space heater and candles to your oven and even your Christmas tree, those are all things that could start a fire if you’re not careful.
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“If the power goes out, people tend to want light and that can be really dangerous when we have had major power outages. We’ve had animals knock over lanterns and candles and start fires in the homes. We really want you to take extra care by using flashlights or battery-operated candles, anything like that just not that open flame,” Monica Colby, Fire and Life Safety Specialist, said.
If you have a space heater in your home, just make sure that it is about 3 feet away from anything that could start on fire.
“We recommend that you don’t use those space heaters during the night. It is really easy for a blanket or some laundry to fall over and start on fire,” Colby said.
With a lot of people staying in their homes because of the heavy snow, drifts and dangerous roads, being fire cautious is essential.
“Big trucks full of water on icy roads does not bode well, we have to lower our speeds. It takes our people a longer time to get to the station to get to the engines. It takes us longer to get the engines to the structures and if we have a significant structure fire, we have to rely on our mutual aid resources and it’s going to take them longer to get there as well,” Chief Schmidt said.
Not only does it take longer for crews to respond but it can also lead to a dangerous situation for the firefighters.
“We want our people to remain safe and the best way for them to do that is for them to stay home,” Chief Schmidt said.
According to the Rapid City Fire Department, the number one cause of structure fires are cooking fires.