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The North Little Rock fire marshal offers advice on how to stay warm when the electricity goes off



North Little Rock, Arkansas – With yet another round of winter weather forecast for central Arkansas, all eyes will be on the power lines. Local fire departments say they want residents to be ready in case the power goes out by having means to stay warm and safe.

To keep residents safe, according to Assistant Fire Marshal Dustin Free of the North Little Rock Fire Department, “it’s all about pre-planning.” He added that firemen are forced to respond to emergencies without adequate planning.

“The fire department has to make sure we’re ready to respond,” Free said.

Free claimed that each year there are fires brought on by people misusing their home equipment.

“Stoves and ovens are not made to heat buildings, they’re made to cook with,” Free said.

Residents shouldn’t seek for the first source of light in the dark, including fireplaces, Free advised. He warned against lighting your fireplace this week if you haven’t had it inspected in the last year.

“You never know what kind of soot it has built up on what’s inside the chimney space,” Free said, adding that a small spark could turn into a big problem. “If you know now that you don’t have a good heat source in your home in the event the power goes out, now is the time to preplan.”

As long as they are kept a safe distance away from flammable objects, Free said that propane space heaters and generators are some safe options to stay warm.

He added that individuals can plan to stay with a friend or somewhere else where they are confident there are safe heat sources.

“If you don’t have that, it’s time to bundle up,” Free added.

The fire department advises residents to make informed heating decisions.

Fire crews claim that the ice roads increase the time it takes them to get to the site by a factor of two to three. In the case of a fire, every second matters.

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