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Press Release

Be Smart during Extreme Cold

Release Date: January 7, 2015

Contact Information:
Cinda Seamon email icon , Fire & Life Safety Educator, 843-682-5141, Fax: 843-682-5146

As temperatures drop, Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue, in conjunction with State Fire Marshal Bert Polk, are urging people to protect themselves and loved ones who might be vulnerable to fire tragedy.

We know with lower temperatures, people are going to use whatever means they have to stay warm and that can result in an increase in fire deaths.

Historically, fire deaths increase about 63% in the winter months (December – March).

Here are some fire safety tips:

  • Check your smoke alarms to make sure they work. Change batteries if needed or replace any smoke alarms that do not work or that are more than 10 years old.
  • If there is a fire, get out and stay out.  Call 911 as soon as you are safely outside.

Heating Safety:

  • All heaters need space.  Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment, like a fireplace, wood stove, furnace, or portable space heater.
  • Keep kids and pets away from open fires and space heaters.
  • Turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Never use an oven to heat your home.
  • Use heating equipment with the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Use space heaters that have a tip over feature ~ if they tip over, they turn off.
  • Place space heaters on a solid, flat surface and keep them and their electrical cords away from things that can burn, high traffic areas and doorways.
  • Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.
  • Inspect any heater for a damaged cord, broken plugs or loose connections.  Replace them before using the space heater.
  • If you use fuel-burning space heaters, use the proper fuel as specified by the manufacturer.
  • If using a wood burning stove or fireplace, burn only dry, seasoned wood and keep the doors closed or a screen in place. Don’t overload with too much wood.
  • Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them and place them in a tightly covered metal container.   The container should be at least 10 feet away from the home or other nearby buildings.

For more information about fire safety, you can contact the Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue Fire & Life Safety Educator at 843-682-5141 or you can visit the Office of the State Fire Marshal’s website at www.scfiremarshal.llronline.com.