You may be thinking about using heaters and fireplaces to keep you warm now that winter weather has arrived. The chances for house fires increases, especially if proper precautions are not followed. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says it’s not advisable to use space heaters for an extended period of time, but has tips if you do.
"You need to have this three foot area around it where there is nothing that will burn, like a chair or clothing, or boxes or curtains. Attend to that heather. If you're going to sleep at night, we really don't recommend those heaters running all night long."
Browning says this time of year, there is an added concern for house, the use of Christmas trees. He says to be cognizant of those while they are used.
"We have people using candles in their home. Of course you're putting up Christmas lights up and Christmas trees. Make sure that the electrical wiring is proper, you're not overloading the circuits, you're not putting up Christmas trees that are dry that would burn up quickly."
There were 46 fire related deaths last year in Louisiana. Browning says that number will increase this year, even though his department educates the public on fire safety.
"The fire deaths that we're seeing right now in the state, we'll probably exceed the fire deaths from last year by two or three. We're going to have another two or three weeks of real cold temperatures as we come up to Christmas."
He says the first line of defense for a house fire any time of year is a working smoke alarm.