Fire marshal tips for fire prevention in the winter

There are more home fires in the winter than any other time of the year according to FEMA.

Billings Fire Marshal Mike Spini said there have been an increase in significant structure fires in the past week. Spini said the fires are from a variety of causes and he has some important fire prevention tips going into the winter months.

First off, don't use extension cords with portable heaters. Spini said you should always plug your space heater directly into the wall. Also, keep your space heaters three feet away from anything that can burn like bedding or curtains.

It's recommended that you have your furnace inspected every year. And, Spini said you need to check the batteries in your smoke detectors.

Spini said, "When the fire department responds to a fire, the firefighters put the fire out. And, everybody's grateful for that. For us, it's a little more difficult to quantify because what we're preventing you don't actually know about. We have had some saves where it was documented that it was the smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm that we installed activated and prevented someone from getting hurt. Things like that definitely are good."

This Thanksgiving, Spini said to be careful when using a turkey fryer. He said do it outside away from the house. And, don't do it under an overhang.

You can read more on heating fire safety from the U.S. Fire Administration here.

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