BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – About eight people are without a home just days before Christmas after it caught fire Tuesday morning in North Charleston – it’s a reminder of the dangers often seen around the holidays as more people use candles and space heaters to stay warm.
While we don’t yet know the cause of that North Charleston house fire, as cold temperatures move into the Lowcountry, there are some steps you can take to stay warm and safe during the winter months.
The American Red Cross said they respond to about six fires per day in South Carolina – which increase by about 30% in the colder months.
They responded to 13 fires in the Lowcountry within the last month alone.
“We want people to be warm because that is definitely something they need to stay safe … but we want to make sure people are heating their home safely,” said Assistant Fire Chief Colt Roy with Central Berkeley Fire and EMS.
If you use a space heater: “You want to keep three feet in all directions of the heater. You wanna make sure there are no curtains, laundry, children, pets- things like that within that three-foot radius,” said Roy. “Also, we want to make sure you are plugged into the outlet, not plugged into a power strip, and only plug-in one heater into that outlet as well.”
Chief Roy said some people use kerosene heaters, which can put off carbon monoxide. “If you’re using that, you want to make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector,” he said.
Use your smoke detectors and test them weekly.
“If you have any questions at all about smoke detectors or your CO detectors, call your local fire department,” he urged.
The National Fire Protection Association has a number of things you can do to stay safe on their website. You can find that information by clicking here.