• 43°

Stay safe this winter

With December nearly upon us and cold weather here to stay, it is a good time to begin to think about fire safety.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, nearly a third of fire-related deaths in the nation take place during the winter months.

While cooking remains the number one cause of home fires, heating is the second largest factor in residential blazes.

One major culprit is the use of electric space heaters, which are often kept too close to combustible materials.

Please be sure to follow safety guidelines, if you choose to use a space heater in your home.

• When purchasing, choose a newer model heater that has current safety features. Make sure the heater carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory label.

• When selecting a heater, be sure it is the proper size for the room you wish to heat. Do not purchase oversized heaters.

• A heater should be located on a level surface away from foot traffic. Be especially careful to keep children and pets away from the heater.

• Heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet. If an extension cord is necessary, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord of 14-guage wire or larger.

• When purchasing, select a unit with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts off the heater if the unit is tipped over.

• And, as always, be sure that batteries in smoke detectors are replaced and test the units to make sure they are working.