Remember safety first this winter

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, January 8, 2014

For many of us, the past few days of frigid temperatures have been some of the coldest in recent memory — and already, people have been seriously injured, or killed, in house fires in Lawrence County.

A Proctorville woman recently died in a house fire, while two others were hurt in a fire in Kitts Hill.

It hasn’t been publically confirmed what caused the two fires, but the incidents bring to mind the dangers of using supplemental heat sources.

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With temperatures dipping below zero, it’s understandable to want to produce as much heat as possible to stay warm. But we must all remember to keep safety a priority.

Space and kerosene heaters may be a blessing to those who have no other source of warmth, but can be extremely dangerous. Those kinds of heaters need to be kept clear of combustible materials.

And fuel-powered heaters must never be refilled while being used or while they are still hot.

It is also not recommended to use a kitchen oven or range to heat your home. In addition to a fire hazard, toxic fumes are a risk.

If you are using a space or fuel heater, or even if you are not, take a few minutes to ensure you have working smoke detectors.

And for those who are struggling to stay warm due to economic issues, Columbia Gas is working with the Home Energy Assistance Program through the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization to provide fixed income customers with heat.

If you or a loved one has had gas service disconnected and meet the proper income guidelines, this program could help.

Please follow these few basic tips to ensure everyone stays safe and warm this winter.