Cold weather safety tips to staying safe and warm

Firefighters say March chill down is a call for action

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter
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VIDEO: With the weather be cold comes the use of space heaters. Though if not used properly, a fire could break out. Some tips to follow can make all the difference.

March is here and you'd think that winter was over and warmer weather was already here. But once again, we are talking about freezing temperatures coming our way. Plants may need to be covered, but firefighters are also pointing to other safety measures.

"We're going to have some really cold temperatures. Keeping in mind the effects of space heaters, keeping them too close to couches or things like that, we need to be overly cautious with that" said Andy Redding who is the state fire marshal.

The State Fire Marshall's Office sees tragedies from space heaters every winter. And they try to keep people aware of the dangers as often as possible.

"This is probably one of the last cold snaps of the season, and we'd hate to see in influx more fatalities because of space heaters, if you run kerosene, you want to make sure you fill it outside, that way you don't spill anything inside. Make sure it's well ventilated" said Redding.

Space heaters aren't the only concern, fireplaces will likely be in use at night, along with electronic blankets and candles. All of these are potentially deadly hazards.

"If you're starting a fire in your fireplace, make sure there is a screen up, make sure there's no flammables close to the fire a spark can easily fly out and hit the couch. It can smolder for hours before you even realize it" said Randy Wyse with the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters.

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