GREENSBORO, NC -- You know about the dangers of cold weather. You can get frostbite, your pipes can freeze and your power can go out. But trying to stay warm can be one of the most dangerous parts of this cold weather.
The National Fire Protection Association says more house fires happen during the winter months and half of all heating fires happen in December, January and February. So how do you keep your family safe?
Fire Marshall Timothy Henshaw of the Greensboro Fire Department says space heaters can be a serious problem. Some people rely on space heaters during the winter months but they can easily go from a way to stay cozy to a fire hazard.
You should keep a three-foot radius around a space heater and never plug into an extension cord or power strip. Henshaw also says not to put gasoline in a kerosene heater. If you're looking for a new heater he suggests an electric oil-filled radiator. It won't burn you on contact and it radiates heat by warming oil.
If you use a fireplace to warm your home you need to take extra precautions. Henshaw says to always have a fire extinguisher nearby in case the flames get out of control. He says one of the most common questions the fire department gets is about using charcoal lighter in a fireplace and they don't recommend it.
When choosing your wood, Henshaw recommends burning seasoned wood. He says to never burn trash or treated wood. When it comes to your ashes, Henshaw says to put them in a metal container, never plastic. He says he's seen several fires start hours after ashes were put in plastic buckets.
Of course keep your chimney clean and have a damper in your fireplace.