Rash of Weekend House Fires, Safe Heating Tips - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Rash of Weekend House Fires, Safe Heating Tips

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Omaha — A rash of house fires over the weekend has the American Red Cross assisting more than 48 people.

Since Friday night, more than 30 disaster action team workers were sent out to help homeowners and firefighters across Nebraska and Southwest Iowa. Across the state, the Red Cross answered calls for help in: Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, Lexington, Grand Island, Hickman and Talmage.

As cold weather continues to set into the region, the Red Cross has issued a reminder to families to be cautious when using space heaters and other heating sources and to make a plan in case of a home fire.

Heating sources are the leading cause of winter fires which increase during the winter months of December, January and February. 

Heat sources such as space heaters, fireplaces or wood and coal stoves can pose a fire hazard. To reduce the risk of heating related fires, the Red Cross recommends keeping anything that can burn such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least three feet away from heating equipment and fireplaces and to never leave these unattended. 

Here are a few fire prevention tips for the winter months:

  • All heaters need space.  Keep all things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace. 
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys inspected annually by a professional, and cleaned if necessary.
  • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.

For more Red Cross fire safety and preparedness information visit www.redcross.org/homefires

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