Winterizing Your Home: Steps to take before temperatures drop


In a matter of seconds your belongings, your home and your life could be gone.

"They happen very quick," Ohio State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers said. "There's a lot of combustible materials in the home today."

Flowers says it's that time of the year.

"We do see an uptick in fires during this time of the year because it's getting colder," he said.

The Fire Marshal's Office says in 2015 there were almost 1,500 fires in the state of Ohio and five deaths as a result of heating.

"Often times we find that people use alternative heating," he said.

He says space heaters, kerosene heaters, wood burning stoves and fire places are big concerns.

"We encourage people to use them properly," Flowers said. "Now, what's that mean? It means using them per the manufacturer's instructions."

More often than not, Flowers says the heating sources aren't given the space they need, which is at least 36 inches away from material that could catch fire. Concerning space heaters, he says most now a days come with a helpful feature.

"If it tips over it will automatically shut off," he said.

But perhaps the most important thing Flowers wants you to know is the importance of smoke alarms. So often, he says fires that crews respond to involve houses that either don't have working smoke detectors, or don't have smoke detectors at all.

"If [people] need smoke alarms, many fire departments in Ohio have smoke alarms," Flowers said. "They're free and, in many cases, they'll install them for you."

Flowers says it's also important to have a plan and practice fire drills at home, remembering everyone should always have two ways out of every room.

He also says children and the elderly can easily become disoriented during an emergency and the elderly should consider sleeping on the first level of their home and have all their necessary appliances, like canes, eyeglasses and walkers, easily within reach.