Staying Safe at Home With The Frigid Weather

By Stephanie Parkinson - 21Alive

January 3, 2014 Updated Jan 3, 2014 at 7:14 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) - With temperatures well below zero staying warm can come with a hefty price tag. This often leaves people seeking other ways to keep warm.

Officials with the Fort Wayne Fire Department say it's when people don't take the proper precautions that problems happen.

Space heaters are a common way people heat smaller areas in their homes so they can stay warm, and avoid high heating bills.

FWFD officials advise people to never leave space heaters on and unattended. They also suggest keeping them away from other objects that can cause a fire, like curtains.

Officials with the fire department say another way house fires can start, during these frigid winter days, is when people try to unfreeze their pipes. The FWFD advises never to use blow torches to unfreeze pipes. Instead, they suggest to open cabinets, to allow heat to circulate better, and let the faucets drip.

"People are trying to stay warm. It is what people do. So they'll do anything they can to stay warm. Quite often, those can be dangerous choices," said Stacey Fleming, Public Information Officer, Fort Wayne Fire Department. "But really, what it boils down to is you need to be careful, and extreme temperatures can cause extreme problems. And so we ask you, and we urge you to stay safe."

For people who are unable to afford their heating bills they can get help by calling 211.

In Indiana, if you don't pay your utility bill your heat can be shut off. The only exceptions are if you've already applied and been approved by an agency for assistance, like CANI, or if someone in the home is disabled, and has proper documentation filed with the utility company.

For people who have their heat shut off, 211 can also help people find emergency shelter.

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