Dangerous Heat in the Dangerous Cold

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

In this kind of weather, we'll do anything we can to stay warm. But some of the heating devices we use can lead to more burning problems.
Seventy-five percent of all residential fires in Rockford happen between the months of November and March, when furnaces, space heaters and even stoves are turned up full blast to squeeze out all the warmth they can.
Low income families tend to suffer the most.
"Areas that can't afford traditional heating so they will then unfortunately use stoves to heat with, space heaters that probably aren't maintained properly, or possibly have something wrong with the cords to them, but you know it's what you gotta do to survive," says Rockford Fire Investigator Mark Marinaro.
Investigator Marinaro says if you're going have a space heater you have to have a safe one and the most important thing is make sure it has a switch that shuts it off if it tips over.
We also need to be sure to keep space heaters away from furniture, or any type of fabric that could go up in flames and fire hazards don't only come from space heaters.
"Your furnaces you want to make sure are cleaned properly so they operate efficiently, furnaces and chimneys so they vent into and also if you're using your fireplaces to make sure things are kept clean," says Investigator Marinaro.
Kerosene lamps are especially dangerous. Make sure to never refill them while they're still hot, or things could really heat up.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is also an increased problem when we turn up our heaters. Investigator Marinaro says Rockford Fire is pleased with how many people seem to be complying with the ordinance requiring carbon monoxide detectors in our homes, though they can't be sure it's being fully enforced.


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