How to keep warm and safe this winter

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CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — During the fall and winter months, fire officials say there is an increased risk for house fires. Fires can start for a number of reasons from dirty chimneys to unattended space heaters.

“They really need to start having their heating systems serviced. Have your furnaces checked. Make sure the filter gets changed. Make sure somebody does a safety check on it,” says Art Hunsinger, past fire chief of the Clifton Park Fire Department.

Besides having your furnace checked, Hunsinger says for those with chimneys, make sure to clean them and ensure animals like birds did not create a nest in your chimney over the summer. Any debris like a nest can cause a blockage in the chimney and release carbon monoxide when a fire is lit.  

“If you haven’t however, you have to do the safety check. If you use a wood stove or pellet stove, same thing. You need to get the chimney checked. Make sure that it is clean and that there is no blockage,” says Hungsinger.

As far as space heaters go, Hunsinger recommends using them in a room with abundant ventilation and ensure you have a five to ten foot clearance from the heater. “These are very dangerous if you’re not careful with them. Whether they are electric or kerosene. Because they get so hot and by knocking them over and getting too close to something that’s combustible. It can truly get the stuff that it’s close to hot enough that it can combust and burn.” 

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