Many are turning to additional sources of heat with the extended cold snap. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning says there has been an increase in fire fatalities in the state in the last couple of weeks. He says homes that don’t have a working smoke alarm are at the greatest risk.
"If those things are not working, if you can't right now get up and test that thing and assure it's working, your family is in danger. And I would tell you you should not sleep in that home without a working smoke alarm."
Another danger is the use of space heaters and other appliances to keep your home warm. Browning says under no circumstances should a kitchen stove be used.
"We had a serious fatality last year, which involved a stove top being used to heat the residence. A kitchen stove is not to be used on high for hours and hours. It will catch on fire if you do that."
He says an important aspect to fire safety is an exit plan if you are caught in a house fire. Browning says make sure your family knows what to do in an emergency, especially if your normal exits are blocked.
"It sounds pretty hard to do to some people, but you need to practice opening your bedroom window and getting out. It may be your only escape route because the fire is between your door and your bed."