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Tips to stay safe during the cold weather

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Local firefighters say emergency calls increase during the winter months, and especially when cold temperatures hit.

The first responders are putting out a warning when it comes to keeping warm.

Safety should be a top concern when using space heaters. A space heater was determined to be the cause of a New Year's Day fire that killed two University of Cincinnati students.

Firefighters say to keep space heaters away from windows, curtains, and any appliances. Don't put clothes, blankets, or anything else on top of them.

"If anything is too close, within two feet, it could actually start heating up the combustibles to where they start producing a gas, and that gas is what is flammable and that's what's going to burn," explained Colerain Township Fire Captain Darian Edwards.

"Over time, if something is next to it for hours at a time, it's going to be more likely to catch fire."

Also, make sure your space heater has a "tip over switch" so it will shut itself down if it falls over.

If you use a fireplace in your home, firefighters say to keep a close eye on the flames and any sparks or ashes that could bounce out of the fireplace and onto your floor.

"Some of the burning coals from the wood can actually pop and come out of the fireplaces if you don't have the proper screening or doors, and that can easily start one of the chimney fires, living room fires," said Edwards.

Firefighters say carbon monoxide poisoning becomes a risk when the colder temperatures hit. They say to pull your vehicle out of your garage before you start the engine to warm the car up. The exhaust has a high concentration of carbon monoxide, which could drift into your home before you know it.

"It doesn't matter if the garage door is open or closed, all that exhaust still gets into the home through the doorways or cracks," explained Edwards.

Also make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector inside your house.

"You're not going to notice that little bit of exhaust, the smell, too much. But it's the exhaust that does produce the carbon monoxide that is going to kill," said Edwards.

It's also recommended to keep extra blankets and flashlights in your vehicle in case of emergency.

 

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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