SAN ANTONIO – With temperatures dropping below freezing in Bexar County this week, the Fire Marshal’s Office is advising residents to use caution when trying to stay warm.
Bexar County Fire Marshal Chris Lopez said the number of house fires may increase around this time of year as people use potentially dangerous heating sources.
“As colder weather arrives, we begin to see an increase of home fires,” Lopez said. “Too many times we’ve seen cases in which residents have used their stove or other sources for heat inside their home to stay warm and then the fire quickly spreads to the rest of the house.
The Fire Marshal’s Office has the following safety tips for properly heating a home:
- Fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, space heaters or candles should be at least 3 feet away from other objects.
- Have a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Never use an oven to heat a home.
- Turn off and unplug space heaters when they will be unaccompanied, and make sure it has an automatic shutoff.
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected each year. Also, have furnaces inspected each year.
- A sturdy screen should be placed on top of a fireplace to stop sparks from flying. Ashes should be cool before they’re put into a metal container.
- Do not burn paper in a fireplace.
- The fire should be put out before going to bed.
- Residents should have a fire escape plan.
The San Antonio Fire Department recommends that space heaters be plugged directly into a wall outlet.