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Officials provide tips on safe heating practices with cold temperatures in the forecast

State Fire Marshal
Posted at 9:41 AM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 20:22:39-05

The State Fire Marshal's Office and Opelousas Fire Department are reminding Louisiana residents to stay safe when heating homes and other spaces during the cold weather.

Cold temperatures are expected to to sticks around for several days with highs in the low 50s and lows down in the low 30s for the next couple of nights. KATC Meteorologist Bradley Benoit breaks down what we can expect this weekend, including the possibility of some winter weather. That weather is likely to be confined to the I-20 corridor in north Louisiana.

In preparation for that weather, the SFM is reminding residents of how to stay warm safely. See their tips below:

  • Place space heaters 3-5 feet from combustible objects like blankets
  • Plug all heating appliances directly into wall outlets, not power strips or extension cords
  • Do not use stoves or ovens to heat homes
  • Don’t overfill fireplaces/wood burning stoves
  • Do not leave candles/open flames (or space heaters) left unattended
  • Have working smoke alarms and/CO detectors in your home!

Richard Joseph, a Training Officer with the Opelousas Fire Department, said residents should always be prepared in case of an emergency.

"You want to make sure that you have an escape plan and practice it twice a year with your family," Joseph explained. "You want to make sure that you draw your house and know two ways out of every room, so that way if you have an emergency you know how to get out from anywhere in your house."

He added that if you have a fire extinguisher, you should make sure it's up to date. If you don't, OFD recommends investing in one as a precaution.

The SFM’s Operation Save-A-Life program partners with local fire departments and districts to provide FREE smoke alarm installations, at any time of the year, for families in need of assistance accessing the critical emergency-alert equipment.

In addition to having working smoke alarms, the SFM also emphasizes the importance of having planned and practiced escape routes for your home that include knowing two ways out of every room. To register for a free smoke alarm, or learn more about Operation Save-A-Life, visit lasfm.org.

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