The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

October 3, 2012

Think safety first before cranking up space heaters

ENID, Okla. — A cold front is going to send temperatures falling this weekend, so many people will fire up the heaters.

This first cold snap of the season, which will see nighttime lows fall into the 30s, could be a dangerous time, especially as people turn on their heaters for the first time or bring out their space heaters.

If you use a space heater, make sure it is 3 feet away from all combustible materials and plugged into an outlet by itself. Do not plug space heaters into an extension cord, as that easily can cause fires.

And, don’t leave a space heater all the time and unattended.

However, a few simple tips can prevent a tragedy.

These tips come from the Enid Fire Department’s website:

• Every home needs some detectors in each sleeping area, outside each sleeping area and on each additional level of your home, including the basement. Replace the batteries, too, to make sure the detectors are in working order.

• Make an escape plan. Plan and practice now, so your family will know what to do in a real emergency.

• Know two ways out. Draw a diagram of your home, and plan two ways out of every room, especially bedrooms. If one of your escape routes must go out a second-story window, be sure you have a safe way to reach the ground. Make special arrangements for small children and people with disabilities.

• Choose a meeting place. Everyone should gather at one meeting place outside, preferably at the front, where the fire department will arrive.

• Practice your plan. At least twice a year, have a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone as the monitor, to sound the alarrn and make sure everyone participates.

• Crawl low. Smoke contains deadly gases and is hot, so it will rise to fill the room from the top down. If you must escape through an area with smoke, the best air will be 12 to 24 inches off the floor.

Safety needs to come first. Be safe to avoid becoming a statistic.

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