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Tips for Seniors on Fire-Proofing Homes for Winter | News

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Tips for Seniors on Fire-Proofing Homes for Winter
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Heating a home when temperatures plunge can be costly and can also present some dangers.

That's particularly true for older people whom statistics show are more likely to be hurt or worse in a home heating accident.

When the temperature outside dips, most people look for warmth inside.

"That's when we're most busy, when it gets real real cold. When you expect it to get to the teens or below that," says Lt. Demeterius Ellison of the Macon-Bibb Fire Department.

It's that time of the year to dust off portable space heaters for a quick warm-up.

"You get so close your legs will change color, you get dark. When you got warm in the front and then turned around to the back to get warm," says Alice Floyd who traded in her gas heater for an electrical one.

Heating is the second leading cause of all home-fires. That's according to the U.S Fire Administration. The risk of death is doubled for seniors between the age of 65 and 74.

"Their tolerance to cold is not very well so they use supplementary heating as well as the heating at home to keep themselves warm," says Ellison.

There are some safety guidelines to follow to minimize the risk of danger. First off, don't leave your heater unattended.

Put them three feet away from curtains, walls or furniture.

If you are to use space heaters, make sure they are UL -- underwriters laboratory -- approved.  It's also recommended to use three-prong plugs.

Another way to fire-proof your home is to check to make sure smoke detectors are working.

"I had two little pieces of chicken in the toaster oven and it started burning. Maybe I put it up a little too high, I don't know, but I was so glad the smoke detector was working," says Josephine Jones who lives in south Macon.

You should test smoke detectors once a month and change the battery twice a year.

Macon-Bibb Fire Department installs detectors, just call: (478) 751-9180

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