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Penn Twp. Fire Chief talks home heating safety tips

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- As the cold weather wafts in, fire crews across Michiana are getting prepped for a spike in calls.

"Statistics prove that during the coldest months of the year, usually January and February, we see a rise in residential fires,” said Chief Al Kirsits with Penn Township Fire Department. “If you're using a secondary heating source, that's where a lot of fires occur. If you do use one, you should every so often check the cord see if it's heating up. If it's getting hot, you might have a problem there with it."

Other tips include keeping it out of reach from children and pets, not leaving it unattended, which means turning it off when it's time for bed and never using an extension cord.

"Do not use an extension cord,” said Chief Kirsits. “You will never see an electrical heater that says use an extension cord."

Another easy way to keep yourself safe is with a smoke detector, or two.

"If you only had a smoke alarm inside your bedroom and not in the hallway, the alarm might not go off until you have a raging fire,” said Chief Kirsits. “So, in every room where you could possibly fall asleep or you live and spend time, you should have a working smoke alarm."

But Chief Kirsits says what's most important is remaining aware of your space heater's limitations.

"Don't attempt to heat your entire house with space heaters because that's really asking for trouble if you do that."

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