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Beware Of Heating Dangers During Cold Weather

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(Memphis) Winter weather dangers are real now that temperatures continue to drop around the Mid-South.

That's leaving all of us looking to stay warm.

If you turn on extra heating units, or use generator to keep power on, safety officials want you to be safe.

When it gets cold outside, rescue workers often see an increase in-house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

“We`ve noticed an increase in the use of space heaters,” said Lt. Wayne Cooke, public information officer for the Memphis Fire Department.

“Space heaters can be dangerous,” said Gale Jones Carson, corporate communications director for MLGW.

If you decide to turn on a space heater to stay extra warm, the Memphis Fire Department warns to keep them away from walls, away from combustibles like blankets and never leave them unattended.

That means shut them off when you go to sleep.

“Check them. Make sure the wiring on that space heater is not frail, broken, is not warm to touch,” said Cooke.  “If it is, discard it.”

Lt. Cooke says people should never use an oven to heat their house.

That’s a fire hazard.

It can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning, “Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless toxic gas that can kill before you know it.”

It's also the reason that if the power goes out during the storm, you should never use a generator indoors.

“Do not use generators in your home. Do not use them in the garage because even in the garage it can seep into your home,” said Jones Carson.

MLGW says when temperatures drop to below freezing, it will not cut off power to homes that haven't paid their bill but those who already don't have power  should start making plans, “They need to have blankets and need to have an emergency kit which should include a flashlight and non-perishable items.”

Jones Carson says, better yet, stay at a friend or family member's house.

“We are hoping that it doesn`t last long,” said Lt. Cooke about the ice storm.

MLGW wants to remind people to check on their elderly loved ones and neighbors during this cold spell.

Also if you're power goes out, report it to MLGW so they know about it. Call its hotline at 544-6500.