Safely heat your home as colder weather sets in across the Texas Gulf Coast

Published 4:29 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Home fires typically increase during colder

As a potential winter storm is expected to impact Oklahoma and Northern Texas, the American Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast region urges families to safely heat their home to avoid home fires as the temperatures drop in our areas.

“Colder temperatures often bring the increased risk of home heating fires, and we want everyone to stay safe by properly warming their home,” said Chester Jourdan, Executive Director of the Southeast and Deep East Red Cross chapter. “While we may not be expecting to get the snow and ice, we are expecting to have temperatures in the 30s at night across the area. We want to make sure our communities are staying safe when using heaters in their homes.”

HOW TO HEAT YOUR HOME SAFELY

A 2020 Red Cross survey showed that more than half of us have used a space heater — which is involved in most fatal home heating fires. Provide at least three feet of space around all heating equipment, and never leave space heaters unattended. Follow these additional tips:

  • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor. Don’t place it on rugs and carpets, or near bedding and drapes; keep away children and pets.
  • Plug space heater power cords directly into outlets — never an extension cord. Turn it off every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • Never leave a fire burning in the fireplace unattended. Make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home. Use a glass or metal fire screen to keep embers in the fireplace.
  • Have furnaces, chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.

TAKE TWO STEPS TO PREVENT FIRE TRAGEDIES

To help protect your family year-round, test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can escape in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late.

Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency app by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in app stores.