BARGERSVILLE, Ind. — A winter storm headed in on a holiday weekend creates a very busy combination for first responders.
A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for all of central Indiana from Thursday evening to Friday night. AAA also predicts Friday as the busiest travel day of the holiday season.
”What we would call a perfect storm of problems if people don’t adhere to some safety planning,” said Michael Pruitt, Deputy Fire Chief Bargersville Fire Dept.
Pruitt said they’ll be busy over the next few days dealing with crashes, power lines down and even house fires. As your prep your home for the winter weather, Pruitt said one of the first things you should do is check your furnace.
”We’re going to be putting these furnaces to the test here in the next few days,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt said you should replace the filter and make sure there isn’t clutter around it.
”We’ve seen plenty of fires start in homes from a furnace that hasn’t been taken care of,” he said.
With this storm, power going out is a serious concern. If it happens to you, don’t look to candles for light.
”I’ve seen fires started over the years because someone lit up 10 to 15 candles in the home,” Pruitt said. “They were unattended and then something combustible came in contact with them.”
Instead, grab a battery-powered lantern for light if your power goes out.
If you lose heat or want to make the house warmer, Pruitt said you should not prop open your oven.
”There’s a chance there is also carbon monoxide building up in the home because this is not burning efficiently,” Pruitt said.
If you’re going to use a space heater, Pruitt said there needs to be three feet between it and anything combustible and don’t use an extension cord.
”This space heater draws so much energy through the cord,” Pruitt said. “The cord will overheat and has the potential to start a fire also.”
If your home has a fireplace, Pruitt said don’t use it unless it’s been inspected by a professional.
You should also make sure you’re only putting cured wood in the fireplace, as well. Wrapping paper or even just wood from out back can create problems.
”The glue in that material will help build up that creosote in your flue and when that catches on fire that can spread into your attic space,” he said.
As you try and keep your house warm during this storm, remember the holidays bring on a lot of flammable materials to keep your eye on.
”Wrapping paper, decorations everywhere, the dried Christmas tree itself, there are a lot of things going on in a home during Christmas that can lead to a tragic situation if we’re not paying attention,” Pruitt said.