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Home heating safety tips

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - With the freezing temperatures, and the threat of more icy weather, firefighters are urging residents who are trying to stay warm to do so safely. The Fire Marshal's office says the threat of house fires go up during the winter months, and it's often because they use dangerous methods to heat their homes. That not only puts them in danger, but the firefighters as well, since it's tougher to do their job when it gets icy.

Fire officials say you can find fire prevention tips for the winter season from the National Fire Protection Association. They list everything you need to know and more if you are needing a space heater or fireplace to stay extra toasty as the cold moves in.

Lawton fire fighters are always ready to jump into action for any emergency. But for this winter season, sometimes it's house fires caused by someone incorrectly heating their home. Space heaters and fireplaces can be used, but if used incorrectly Lawton's Assistant Fire Marshal Ray Brown said they can cause deadly fires.

"Space heaters are on the floor,” said Brown. “And with today's construction, the furniture that we use, as it burns it releases toxic fumes which the smoke doesn't wake you up. It puts you into a deeper sleep. You're unable to breathe. And a lot of the times the people are actually injured or killed by the smoke and not the fire itself.”

However, a space heater in an open area, with an automatic switch-off for when it falls over, can prevent a devastating fire. Brown says a clean, open fireplace is a safe fireplace.

But, Brown says by no means should an oven or a stove be a source of heat during the winter months.

"Leaving it on that long there are things around the stove that could get hot enough eventually to catch fire,” said Brown. “Usually when that happens it's going to be in the middle of the night when we are asleep. Because when we're awake we all smell a little bit of smoke, but at nighttime when we are asleep is when we don't smell it. We don't get a quick stop on it. And that's when it becomes threatening to us."

Major Dudley Teeter of the Lawton Fire Department says while the below freezing weather can create emergencies, it can also slow down the time fire fighters get to the scene. But Teeter assures residents that is for the safety of you and the fire fighters.

"We need to be safe out there as well because we're the help,” said Teeter. “You called us because you have a problem and we need to make sure we can get there in a safe and timely manner. So, we're also cautious when we get out on the roads."

Teeter also mentioned that when you see any emergency vehicle on the road with siren and lights going, to slow down and pull over. It helps you and the first responders stay safe, and it's also state law.

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