How to keep warm and safe this winter

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Clifton Park, New York (News 10) – During the fall and winter, fire officials say there is an increased risk of home fires. Fires can start for a number of reasons from dirty chimneys to unattended space heaters.

“They really need to start servicing their heating systems. Check your ovens. Make sure you change the filter. Make sure someone does a safety check on them,” says Art Hunsinger, a former Clifton Park Fire Department.

Besides checking your furnace, Hunsinger says for those with chimneys, be sure to clean them and make sure animals like birds haven’t nested in your chimney over the summer. Any debris such as a nest can clog the chimney and emit carbon monoxide when starting a fire.

“If you haven’t done that yet, do a safety check. If you’re using a wood-burning stove or a pellet stove, same. You need to check the chimney. Make sure it’s clean and there’s no blockage,” says Hongsinger.

In terms of space heaters, Hunsinger recommends using them in a room with ample ventilation and making sure you get 5 to 10 feet of clearance from the heater. “These are very dangerous if you’re not careful with them. Whether it’s electric or kerosene. Because they get very hot and in their ways and get very close to something combustible. It can actually get to things that are close to enough temperature that they can burn and burn.”

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