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RCFD recommends to take precaution when firing back up heating appliances

Make sure the hot embers are completely out before leaving after using a fireplace.
Make sure the hot embers are completely out before leaving after using a fireplace.
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:28 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - “As the weather gets colder, we definitely want people to remain safe,” said Captain of the Rapid City Fire Department, Calen Maningas.

South Dakota’s frigid cold months are just ahead and while it’s important to stay warm, it’s just as important to remember the precautionary steps it takes to turn on home heating appliances as they are the leading cause of home fire deaths.

“Something that is somewhat dangerous is that people haven’t operated their heating equipment. People are going to be firing them up for the first time. So, a big recommendation that we have, especially for fireplaces, is that you have them serviced by a professional at least once a year. Have them cleaned out and completely serviced,” said Manigas adding that homeowners using heating elements such as space heaters should take extra precautions by keeping objects cleared at least 3 feet from the devices including blankets, paper, or any other burning materials.

People who have fireplaces with chimneys in their homes should take precautions against the potential debris that could have built up.

“You could have debris built up in there, animals could build nests up there, so, we want those cleaned yearly as well as overtime, what happens, the unburned carbon, so the soot from all the smoke, can build up in there and that could actually become a fire hazard because unburned carbon is just fuel. So, it could get hot enough that it could burn. You want those professionally cleaned every year that way you know that they’re working properly and they’re also venting properly as well,” said Manigas.

He recommends turning off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed and testing smoke alarms at least once a month to make sure you can stay comfortable and safe.

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