Fire prevention tips for heating appliances in your home this fall – WHSV

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) – This time of year, it can start to get cooler and that may mean turning on heating appliances.

Rockingham County Fire & Rescue Chief, Jeremy Holloway, wants to remind residents of preventative measures they should do now to keep their homes safe.

Holloway said build up can happen in chimneys that are used then turned off and then turned on again.

This can happen when it’s warmer then gets cooler and then warm, again. The varied temperatures can cause cracks in the chimney, which can lead to fire spreading throughout the home. Bird nests can also build up over the summer months.

Chief Holloway recommends getting chimneys inspected and cleaned by a professional as soon as possible, as they sometimes get busy this time of year.

He also recommends checking gas appliances and heating and cooling appliances throughout the home to make sure they’re working properly and are fueled properly.

If additional heating appliances are used, like a space heater, never connect an extension cord to that appliance and make sure it is placed far enough away from furniture and other objects with about three feet of clearance around the heater.

If a kerosene heater is used, make sure it is properly fueled. Do not put gas in it and make sure to take the device outside to be filled.

Holloway said this time of year they see calls spike 40-60% in Rockingham County. In 2019, their team reported 60 residential structure fires in the county, and so far, they have responded to 20 gas leaks this year.

He said preventing these incidents is key.

“We’re here and we’re available. Throughout our region we got fire and EMS personnel available. We would rather prevent the problem before it happens, you know, before we have an injury or death occur in our community. So, prevention is top priority to us,” Holloway said.

Holloway said with daylight saving time right around the corner, it is a good time to check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and make sure they’re functioning correctly. He said a working smoke detector should at least be on every level of the home and every bedroom if possible.

You can get a smoke alarm at any fire and rescue station in Rockingham County by calling the county office building at (540) 564-3175.

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