As area residents cope with extremely cold temperatures, the City of Greenville is asking for the public’s help to prevent needless tragedies. According to state and federal fire authorities, home fires occur more in winter than in any other season, with half of all home heating fires occurring in the months of December, January and February. Winter home fires occur mainly in the early evening hours, peaking between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., and heating equipment is involved in one of every seven reported home fires and one in every five home fire deaths.
“While the statistics are frightening, nearly all of these fires are preventable,” said Fire Chief Steve Kovalcik. “When temperatures are this low, residents are going to use whatever means they have to stay warm, but we can reduce the number of winter fires in our community just by taking some simple precautions and using heating equipment properly.”
Fire Safety Tips:
City officials are also urging residents to check on friends, neighbors and the elderly, who may be vulnerable during the winter months, to ensure that they are in safely and adequately heated dwellings. Cold temperatures make senior citizens susceptible to hypothermia, so it is also important to know the warning signs of cold-related illness:
Frostbite is a serious condition caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures. Warning signs include:
If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.
Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it is produced. Lengthy exposures will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, which leads to lower body temperature. Warning signs include:
If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95° F, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.
“We want to make sure all our residents are safe and warm during this bitterly cold weather and urge everyone to take the proper precautions, including for their pets,” said Mayor Knox White. “Additionally, it only takes a moment to check on our neighbors, and making a phone call or knocking on a door could save a life, so we encourage residents to look out for one another to ensure everyone is faring well in the cold.”
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