As the nights get longer and the days colder, Ekurhuleni DEMS would like to help put a freeze on winter fires.
With the brisk cold in full force, millions of Ekurhuleni residents are relying on the convenience of space heaters to warm up chilly homes – and firefighters are bracing for calls.
William Ntladi, the spokesperson for DEMS, explained various means of heating remain the leading causes of house fires.
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“Every winter, we receive many incidents of space-heater or brazier (a portable heater consisting of a pan or stand for holding lighted coals) accidents, sometimes with tragic results.
“These fires are likely to occur in the overnight hours between midnight and early morning hours before sunrise. It is important to remember to turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.”
DEMS provided the following steps to prevent these destructive fires:
• Keep anything that can burn at least a metre away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater.
• Have a metre “kid-free zone” around home fires and space heaters.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
• Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year before use by a qualified professional.
• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
• Always use the right kind of fuel, as specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.
• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop embers from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
“During the winter season, temperatures are getting very low, and in some instances, they register to sub-zero levels. It is everyone`s responsibility to be vigilant in preventing these destructive fires while keeping warm,” he said.
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