Valdosta Daily Times

October 16, 2013

Fire safety: Winter’s Coming

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Recent drops in the temperature have been a welcome change from the South Georgia heat and humidity of summer. It’s good to step outside and be greeted by cool air and even the occasional brisk breeze. Come morning, these cooler temperatures awaken the senses and ready the body and spirit for a new day.

Yet, South Georgia residents may also want to consider these pleasant temperatures in the 50s and 60s as a reminder of what will soon come: Even lower temperatures, cold nights, and the need for heaters.

October is National Fire Safety Month. Why October? Because it commemorates the great Chicago Fire of 1871, and for many regions of the country, October marks the last opportunity to prepare for winter. In South Georgia, we have a little more time but it will be here before you know it.

So, before those cold nights arrive, now would be a good time to check your residence’s heaters and/or furnace.

Get your heater and furnace serviced. If you plan to use space heaters when the cold weather comes, remember clear an area for them; don’t use space heaters near piles of clothing or papers. Do not leave space heaters unattended. Remember to turn them off before leaving the residence or even the room.

Sadly, each year, as the temperatures drop, the number of residential fires rise. These fires are often caused by poorly kept furnaces or improper use of heaters.

A small amount of preparation may prevent the tragedies of families left homeless and families left grieving.

Valdosta and Lowndes County are blessed with skilled, diligent and courageous firefighters. Two months ago, when an industrial park fire sparked a series of explosions, all on-duty Valdosta Fire Department personnel answered the call, so did Lowndes County and Moody Air Force Base firefighters. Dozens of off-duty VFD firefighters also came to the scene that day.

Our area firefighters do a heroic job, but no one wants to see them answering a call to an area house on a cold night.

Keep your home safe. Prepare for winter now.