Following several recent tragic house fires across the state, Fire Chief Jeffery Smith is urging Hammond residents to be extremely careful in their use of alternative heating sources, such as space heaters, which are involved in roughly one out of every six such fires.
If the source of a home's heat - gas or electric - has been disconnected or is in danger of being disconnected, consider heating assistance first. The IURC reminds customers who are having difficulty paying their bills to contact their utility company as soon as possible to see what payment options or assistance may be available.
Citizens may also find assistance through programs like the federally funded Energy Assistance Program (EAP) or other organizations, such as social service agencies and faith-based groups.
Space Heaters and Other Alternative Heating
Space heaters and other alternative heating should be avoided if at all possible.
If space heaters and other alternative heating solutions need to be used, there should be at least a three-foot perimeter around space heaters at all times and away from loose or flammable object such as clothing, curtains, bedding and furniture.
Only one space heater should be plugged into each electrical outlet and should not be left on in an unoccupied room.
No matter if it's a space heater, wood stove, or fireplace, turn it off or extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving home.
Appliances, such as a stove or oven, should never be used for heating. Using these appliances as a heating option can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Working smoke alarms are important to have year round, but they can be especially important in the winter months with the added risk of alternative heating sources, such as space heaters and fireplaces. According to the Red Cross, families have as little as two minutes to safely escape a burning home, and having a working smoke alarm can double a person's chance of surviving