Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – Home fires are more common during the winter months as people turn on space heaters to stay warm.
With freezing temperatures expected for the next two nights, now is the time to protect people, pets, plants and pipes.
Here are cold weather safety tips from local agencies.
- If possible, keep all pets indoors. If that’s not an option, make sure there’s dry shelter available and have warm blankets for your pet.
- Provide enough food and water. Watch the water bowls as they can freeze in cold weather.
- Consider a sweater for your short-haired dog.
- Outdoor cats seeking warmth sometimes crawl under the hood of a vehicle. Knock or open the hood of your car so any animals in there trying to stay warm can get out before you fire up that engine. Cats can be injured or even killed when the car is started.
(Louisiana Office of the Fire Marshal)
- Place heaters 3 to 5 feet from combustible objects like blankets and curtains
- Plug all heaters directly into wall outlets, not power strips or extension cords
- Do not use stoves or ovens to heat homes
- Do not overload fireplaces/wood stoves
- Do not leave candles/open flames (or heaters) unattended
- Have functional smoke alarms in your home!
- Additionally, carbon monoxide, or CO, can also be a hazard when it comes to heating your homes. Carbon monoxide, often called “the invisible killer”, is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane are actively burned. In the home, heating and cooking appliances that burn fuel, such as heaters, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces, can be sources of carbon monoxide. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm for your home!
- To sign up for a free smoke alarm or learn more about Operation Save-A-Life, visit lasfm.org.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move all harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.
- When it is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the tap served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set at the same temperature day and night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you risk a higher heating bill, but you can avoid a much more expensive repair job if the pipes freeze and burst.
- If you go on a cold day, leave the heat in your home set to no lower than 55°F.
- Move all plants to containers and hanging baskets indoors. If that’s not possible, group them together in a protected area and cover them with plastic.
- Larger plants can be covered with fabric or plastic.
- Water the plants thoroughly if the soil is dry.
- For plants growing in the ground, mulch them with dry materials such as straw and pine leaves.
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