Wichita Falls Fire Dept. urging safety before first freeze

Fire At Fountaingate Apartments
Fire At Fountaingate Apartments

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - When temperatures drop, structure fires normally go on the rise.

"We just keep it in mind and know that this time of year business kind of picks up for us," Assistant Wichita Falls Fire Chief, Donald Hughes said.

That's why the Wichita Falls Fire Department is urging people to use caution when turning on their heaters, fireplaces, and space heaters.

The first bite of winter of the year has led to lots of fire calls in years past. The Red Cross and fire department both said the first cold snap tends to be the worst. But there are things you can do to help keep the heat where its suppose to be.

"We work in prevention all the time and we've done a great job at that," Chief Hughes said. "But there's still always going to be accidents. And that's what we are here for."

Chief Hughes said people don't always check their heaters before they turn them on.

"If you think far enough ahead it would be a good idea to have your heating and air conditioning checked before you ever turn it on," he said. "Especially at this point in the year when you are about to turn on your heater for the first time."

Executive Director of the Red Cross Katrina Farmer agrees. She also said people don't always use their space heaters correctly.

"You need to make sure that any space heater you have is plugged up directly to the wall," Farmer said. "No extension chords. That makes it more dangerous. You also need to make sure that anything that could be flammable like kids toys, curtains, blankets, everything is at least three feet away from that space heater."

Farmer said having a working smoke detector will decrease your chances of a fire by half, and can save your life.

"House fires and the loss of property is one thing," she said. "House fires and the loss of a life is a whole different thing."

"We're there ready to save people, put out fires," Chief Hughes said. That's just our job."

Chief Hughes added people need to check their smoke detectors before it gets cold to make sure the batteries are working.

October is fire prevention month and the department has been teaching fire prevention throughout the community.

If flames do break out, get out of your house and call 911. Do not try and put the fire out yourself.

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