Fire officials offer winter weather safety tips
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – As the coldest weather of the season so far rolls in, New Mexicans will do everything they can to stay warm.
The expected huge drop in temperatures this week has fire officials very concerned.
“We see the most space heater fires in the months of December through February, so a three-month period. 46% of our house fires during this time are related to space heaters, water heaters, or fire places,” said AFR Fire Chief Emily Jaramillo.
So, what should you do and not do to stay safe during this winter weather?
If you have more than one space heater, don’t plug them both into the same outlet. For people who want to bundle up under a warm blanket:
“Make sure you keep anything that can burn at least three feet from a space heater. That is combustible stuff, a lot of the times people will lay clothes, or blankets and things like that around them, and it can start a fire,” said Jaramillo.
If you have a fireplace, get it inspected by a professional to make sure the chimney and vents are cleared before using it. And don’t even think about using the oven to warm your home.
“We often times see people heating their homes with their gas stove. They’ll light the burners to heat their home, that can produce carbon monoxide, which is a deadly gas. It’s really important not to do that and if you’re struggling with having your utilities shut off, there are services in the community with our providers that can help people,” Jaramillo said.
AFR will also be on the lookout for the homeless starting outdoor fires to stay warm. The department is already responding to more warming fires than usual in the International District.
To combat the issue, they have rolled out a brush truck to handle those calls.
“Our brush trucks are much smaller trucks, they are staffed to two people, and typically respond to wildland type fires. So we are going to use that same apparatus, but this time to extinguish smaller fires, rubbish fires, trash fires, dumpster fires,” AFR Public Information Officer Lt. Jason Fejer.