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Temperatures are Going Down, Number of Fires is Going Up

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Musings, In The News

I am going to take this opportunity to write about a subject I have written about previously, but after reading the many articles online this past week, perhaps it bearing repeating. We have been going through a very, very cold period the last couple of weeks. The entire east coast down to Florida has been unbelievably cold, I read that it hit 41 degrees in Key West one day last week. The extremely cold weather has been in the central part of the country as well, down into the Gulf states and into Texas. The last weather map I looked at, it appeared the only part of the country that had been spared were parts of California and Arizona.

Depending on what part of the country you live in, you may be used to extremely cold weather. People who live in Minnesota or North Dakota might wish for a 41 degree day in the winter, 41 degrees is warm when you are used to 5 degrees. However, alot of people live in areas where cold weather is almost unheard of, especially as cold as we have had recently. I grew up north of Pittsburgh, so I am used to cold and snow, but I confess I even purchased a couple of new kerosene heaters last week, and have been using them every day. Perhaps it’s a part of growing older, but the cold weather isn’t quite as enjoyable as it used to be.

People who live in parts of the country where it doesn’t usually get cold are burning their houses down. As I have mentioned before, fires and old houses don’t mix well. Fires and any houses don’t mix well. People who aren’t aware of heater safety, because they don’t normally use heaters, are making costly, and sometimes deadly mistakes. Electric heaters need to be checked prior to use, and kept away from flammable items. Make sure the cord isn’t damaged if its an old heater you haven’t used in a long time. Keep kerosene heaters away from flammable items like curtains or furniture. DO NOT let any portable heater run while you and your family are asleep, no matter how safe it looks. Use extra blankets, but do not go to sleep with a kerosene or space heater running. Make sure your smoke detectors are working, don’t wait for when the time changes to check them. If you are using heaters in your old house, check to make sure the detectors are functional now.

Most of the house fires that have been occuring will have to be investigated to discover the cause. However, there seems to be no disputing that the number of house fires has shot up as temperatures have dropped, especially in the south. There has been an increase in house fires in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas, and those were just the first 4 stories I read. Please be careful.

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  1. 2 Responses  to “Temperatures are Going Down, Number of Fires is Going Up”

  2. Will
    Aug 29, 2011
    It's just like the old radiators in houses..those things could get blazing hot, put something flammable near them and that could be the end of that house. Like David said the cord is key, make sure there are no slits/cuts or anything damaged with it. Triple check they are turned off when you leave the house!
  3. David
    Aug 29, 2011
    I few other important heater safety tips: * If you're using an electric heater with an extension cord. Please make sure the cord is rated for at least 5 amps more than the heater draw. This goes for the electrical circuit the heater is plugged into also. Installing a bigger fuse is not the answer! * A working CO detector is as important as working smoke detectors. When not properly used an maintained Kerosene, Heating Oil, Propane, Natural Gas, Lined and unlined chimneys can all produce dangerous CO gas.