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Fireworks to space heaters: tips for a safe new year

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ATLANTA, Ga. -

Assistant Georgia State Fire Marshal Chris Stephens joins the Good Day crew with tips on fireworks and space heater safety. 

HOME HEATING SAFETY

• As temperatures go down, the number of home fires tends to go up.

• Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires in Georgia.

• Portable space heaters, open fireplaces and wood stoves can be dangerous if misused.

• Remember to always keep them away from curtains, draperies, and other flammable material.

• Make sure kerosene heaters have adequate ventilation, and always follow the manufacturer's operating instructions.

• If you use kerosene space heaters, make sure each heater has an automatic shut off in case it tips over.

• Use only K 1 kerosene in the heater and always wait until the heater has cooled before refueling.

• Inspect the space heater's cord periodically to look for frayed wire or damaged insulation. Never use a space heater with a damaged cord.

• Look for the UL Mark on your electric heater. This means the appliance has met UL's safety standards.

• Install an adequate number of smoke alarms. Most fatal fires start between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., while the family is asleep.

• The advance warning of a smoke alarm may mean the difference between life and death.

• Nine out of 10 fire victims are already dead before the fire department is even called, mainly from smoke and toxic gases.

• If you already have smoke alarms, don't forget to replace the batteries annually.

• Each household should have a well-rehearsed family escape plan.

• Have a predetermined meeting place outside the house so you can be sure everyone is out safely.

• Do not use extension cords with space heaters unless absolutely necessary.

• Chimney and fireplace fires are usually the result of failure to clean the fireplace.

• Creosote is a black oily substance that builds upon itself. It is created from burning wood and lurks up at the top of the chimney where you can't see it. Creosote is highly flammable.

• Every 40 fires, you should consider burning a creosote fire log like this one. All you have to do is add it to a fire you already have started in your fireplace and it attacks the creosote. This does not replace annual chimney sweeps.

• 122 fire fatalities (2013)

• Fire Investigators could not determine if 98 of 122 fire deaths had a working smoke alarm in the home.

 

Fireworks Safety:

• The best way to enjoy fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays put on by professionals.

• Legal fireworks in Georgia do not elevate off the ground or explode.

• Remember to always read and follow label directions.

• Wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework.

• Have a garden hose or buck of water handy.

• Light only one firework at a time.

• Never re-light a "dud" firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).

• I wish you all a safe and fun New Year's Eve!

Facts & figures

* In 2011, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,600 people for fireworks related injuries; those injuries were to the extremities and the head.

* The risk of fireworks injury was highest for children ages 5-19.

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