Lowcountry fire officials emphasize heating your home safely during cold weather

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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – As the temperatures drop, Lowcountry fire officials are stressing the importance of heating your home safely.

According to Stephanie Julazadeh with the North Charleston Fire Department, heating equipment is the second leading cause of house fires.

“Typically, when we have these cold spells down here in the south, people are using space heaters they don’t routinely use,” Julazadeh.

Julazadeh recommends keeping at least 3 feet around the space heater clear. She also said to turn the heater off when going to sleep or leaving the home. Another safety tip is to plug the heater directly into the wall, not an extension cord.

As for lighting your fireplace, Mount Pleasant Fire Chief Mike Mixon recommends having it professionally cleaned before use.

He also said to dispose of the ashes in a metal bucket and keep them away from the home until it is completely cooled.

When it comes to fire safety, both experts agree prevention is key.

“Fires can spread quickly in the home, especially with modern construction types,” said Mixon. “Once the fire starts, the amount of smoke and the amount of fire really can take over a home and the occupants pretty quickly.”

In general, officials said there should be a smoke detector in every bedroom and hallway. They also said to come up with a fire escape plan that includes two ways out of every room and a meeting spot outside of the home.

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