With Heating Costs Up, SD Residents Reminded About Safety
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
After the calendar flips to December, South Dakota will see the return of colder temperatures during a period of higher natural-gas costs. Fire officials say if you haven't already done so, now is an important time to make sure you have a safe heating source.
At the start of each winter season, home heating safety tips are often provided to prevent a fire.
Brandon Fey, fire inspector for Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, said some guidance is commonly known, such as keeping space heaters away from flammable items. But he added you also need to avoid overloaded circuits when powering up these units.
"They'll take either an extension cord or a power strip or a multi-plug, and they'll plug that device inside that power strip," Fey observed. "What happens then is that power strip can't handle the wattage, and then it overloads that power strip, and that power strip fails, and then you have a fire."
Fey explained you should plug portable heaters directly into an outlet. One way to avoid overreliance on secondary sources is to have your main heating system serviced. For those worried about the costs or affording higher heating bills, they can turn to a state program for financial assistance. Help can be found through calling 211 to determine if you're eligible.
Fey emphasized people should completely avoid using an oven to heat their home, because leaving the door open for a long period can lead to a dangerous situation.
"Things can fall inside that oven, the oven can overheat. Things around the oven, like cupboards, are not meant to have that type of heat put onto them," Fey outlined. "They can start on fire. "
For renters who have a landlord unwilling to fix a broken heating system, Fey noted cities such as Sioux Falls have ordinances requiring property owners to maintain mechanical items. Local laws typically offer guidance on how to proceed if the landlord is not following up with needed repairs.
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