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Firefighters urging caution with alternate heat sources

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The Fredericksburg Fire Department has issued a safety reminder to help prevent fires from alternate heat sources now that temperatures are dropping.

Alternate heating sources are a major contributing factor in residential fires, Deputy Chief Mike Jones said.

Below are safety tips.

Keep areas clear around heat-producing objects (i.e., space heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves and furnaces). A good “rule of thumb” is to maintain at least 3 feet of clearance between a heat source and combustibles.

Never leave a heater on when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep, and never leave children or pets unattended near heating sources.

Do not plug electrical heaters into power strips or extension cords. This may cause an overloaded electrical circuit.

Do not use a range or oven as an alternate heating source. This can create toxic fumes.

Have chimneys inspected annually and cleaned as necessary.

Use only dry wood when burning in fireplaces or wood stoves.

Allow ashes to cool before disposing them in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Place the container away from the house. It can take as long as four days for ashes to cool completely.

Never place or store ashes on a combustible source (i.e., wood decks, porches, next to the house) before disposal.

Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries. A good time to change batteries is when clocks are changed. daylight saving time ends Nov. 3.

Never use fuel-burning appliances without proper room ventilation.

Never fill a kerosene heater while it is in operation or hot. Avoid overfilling.

Call 911 immediately when a fire occurs. Time delays in fire department arrival can lead to larger fires and more damage.

—Pamela Gould

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