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Cold overnight temperatures could mean fire hazards at home

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Temperatures are dropping tonight. The low for the Tennessee Valley is predicted to dip to the upper twenties. Safety experts are warning about heating hazards as residents look for ways to stay warm. Local fire departments say the use of space heaters is one of greatest fire safety issues this time of year. They say the most important thing to remember is to never to use extension cords with space heaters. And nothing should be within three feet of the heater. Josh Tanner is the deputy director of the Gadsden/Etowah County EMA. He says accidents happen with heaters and they can turn deadly by starting fires.

“Somebody tripped over something,” said Tanner. “Or the power cable failed, or something to cause that fire. People just have to be conscience about when they make themselves a target for mishap to happen. So we want everyone to stay warm, but we want them to stay warm safely.”

Tanner also says to remember the three “P’s” during cold weather. That’s people, pets and pipes. Check on people who may need help staying warm, bring pets in out of the cold and wrap pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting.

“Check on people that may live near you. Elderly neighbors, or somebody that lives alone. Pets: you have to remember that they have to have fresh water. Bring them inside to where they can stay warm.”

The National Fire Protection Association says Christmas trees, holiday decorations, cooking and baking all contribute to an annual increase in U.S. home fires during the winter months. In fact, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are among the leading days of the year for home fires, topped only by Thanksgiving Day.

Jolencia Jones is a student interns at Alabama Public Radio. During her first term in the APR newsroom, Jolencia has covered a lecture on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, and the local "Valentines for Veterans" effort, among other stories.
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