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Mississippi State Fire Marshall wants you to be safe for winter weather

Mississippi State Fire Marshall Mike Chaney reminds everyone in the magnolia state to properly use heating sources to stay warm during the cold weather and have working smoke detectors in your homes. RELATED: First Alert: Wintry Mix followed by frigid ...

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With below freezing temperatures forecasting for this weekend, Mississippi State Fire Marshall Mike Chaney reminds everyone in the magnolia state to properly use heating sources to stay warm during the cold weather and have working smoke detectors in your homes. RELATED: First Alert: Wintry Mix followed by frigid weather for New Year'sChaney says "Everyone must use extra precaution when using space heatersSpace heating poses a much higher risk of fire, death and injury than central heatingAnd, it cannot be stressed enough that you should never use a stove or oven to heat a home,".The State Fire Marshal's Office offers these heating safety tips: Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters. Supervise children when a fireplace, fire pit, or other space heater is being usedUse a sturdy, metal screen to prevent contact burns, which are even more common than flame burns. All heaters need spaceKeep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment. Use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Never use your oven for heating. Install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment, according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions. Have a qualified professional install the equipment. Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoningCO is created when fuels burn incompletelyCO poisoning can cause illness and even deathMake sure the venting for exhaust                      is kept clear and unobstructed. Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.For Portable electric space heaters Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room. Use and purchase portable space heaters with an automatic shut off so if they're tipped over they will shut off. Place space heater on solid, flat surface. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord. Inspect for cracked or damaged, broken plugs or loose connectionsReplace before using Fuel burning space heaters Always use the proper fuel as specified by the manufacturer. When refueling, allow the appliance to cool and refuel outside or in a well-ventilated area. When using the heater, open a window to ensure proper ventilation. In portable kerosene or other liquid-fueled space heaters always use the proper grade of the proper fuel. All new unvented gas-fired space heaters have an oxygen depletion sensor that detects a reduced level of oxygen in the area where the heater is operating and shuts off the heater before a hazardous level of carbon monoxide accumulates.          If you have an older heater without this feature, replace it. If the pilot light of your gas heater goes out, allow 5 minutes or more for the gas to go away before trying again, do not allow gas to accumulate, and light the match before you turn on the gas to the pilot to avoid the risk of flashback. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not attempt to light the applianceTurn off all the controls and open doors and windowCall a gas service person.For Wood burning stoves Install the stove, chimney connectors, and chimneys following manufacturer's instructions or have a professional do the installation. Wood stoves should bear the label of a recognized testing laboratory. In wood stoves, burn only dry, seasoned woodIn pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets. Start the fire with newspaper or kindling, never with a flammable liquid, such as lighter fluid, kerosene or gasoline. Keep the doors of your wood stove closed unless loading or stoking the live fire• Allow ashes to cool before disposingDispose of ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from the             home and any other nearby buildingsDouse and saturate with water. Should a fire break out in the home, have an emergency evacuation plan for the family to follow and have a designated meeting place for all family membersOnce everyone is outside the burning home, call 911 and  DO NOT RE-ENTER THE HOUSE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!! To create a plan for your family, use this Escape Plan Grid HERE from the National Safety Council. For more fire safety information follow the Mississippi Insurance Department (@MSInsuranceDept) and Mississippi State Fire Marshal's Office (@msfiresafe) on Twitter and Facebook.

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