How to stay safe in cold temperatures

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It's beginning to feel a lot like fall outside, especially at night with temperatures possibly dropping into the thirties and forties this week.

With the cold temperatures, there are things you need to do to stay safe while keeping warm.

The devices that keep us warm during the fall and winter can also be deadly. More than 3,500 people across the country die each year in fires according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

"As we approach the winter season certainly people need to be aware that they may see an increase in home safety hazards using alternative heating sources," said Columbus Fire Marshal Chief Ricky Shores.

While temperatures are forecasted to drop into the thirties and forties at night this week, Shores says you need to be safe if you plan on using anything like a fireplace or space heater to keep you warm.

"That they have at least 36 inches around that device. Clear from any draperies, paper, bed-side," said Shores.

Shores suggests having you fireplace cleaned by a professional, to never use an oven to heat your home, and to make sure your extension cords are safe.

Joey Hurd with Riley Heating and Air says another thing you can do is get a seasonal check-up on your home heating system.

"Making sure the unit is running as efficiently as possible. We are checking all the safeties making sure all the safeties on the equipment is working as they are supposed to," said Hurd.

Studies show that almost 200 people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning. Hurd says that is one of the biggest things they are looking for.

"We make a thorough check. We check the heat exchangers and check the water heaters, and everything that you need to ensure the homeowners safety," said Hurd.

He says that can also help your pocket as well.

"Having your units serviced at least once a year helps you maintain energy efficiency and can help you save a couple hundred of dollars in break down costs a year," said Hurd.

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