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CCFD provides useful tips on heating appliances, staying safe during winter months

Corpus Christi Assistant Fire Chief Randy Paige said that trouble comes when space heaters are set too close to flammable items such as drapes.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Anytime the temperatures dip here in the Coastal Bend, people are generally interested in just one thing: Keeping warm.

When the cold comes calling, we all have to adjust.

For most, that simply means resetting the thermostat or adding another layer of clothing and staying inside. Others, however, may turn to alternatives that, while convenient, could prove deadly.

When it comes to staying warm this winter, your home may be a cozy spot to ride out the chill. There are some ways, however, that your comfort could be quickly compromised.

Take space heaters, for example.

When used properly, they can help warm up a room in a hurry. Even so, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that small space heaters cause some 25,000 residential fires every year

Corpus Christi Assistant Fire Chief Randy Paige said that the trouble comes when space heaters are set too close to flammable items, like drapes, or when extension cords are used.

“Space heaters generate a lot of heat in their cording, too, and they need to be plugged in directly to an outlet," Paige said.

One method to absolutely stay away from involves heating a room by turning on the oven or using the burner.

"That's not the intended use of a stove and what you end up with is an increase in the amount of carbon monoxide that's being put off," Paige said.

He adds that because it is one of those gasses that you cannot smell, there have been too many instances where people have gone to bed and not woken up, because they have been poisoned by carbon monoxide.

“Even with your fireplaces, you know, you are burning wood and it's going to put off carbon monoxide," Paige said. "So make sure your flue is open before you start your fire, and make sure that you extinguish the fire before you go to bed.”

According to Paige, today is a good day to check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your house. The Fire Marshal said that a good rule of thumb is to place a carbon monoxide detector between you and any gas appliance in your house. He also said that if you have questions or need help, you can call his office at (361) 826-3922.

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