TALLAHASSEE – Florida Division of Emergency Management officials are urging residents and visitors across the state to practice fire safety when using indoor heating sources as temperatures are expected to drop below normal values statewide by Wednesday night. By taking basic safety precautions, residents can reduce the risk of fire, property damage or any potential loss of life.
“Floridians are advised to be prepared for the drop in temperatures tonight,” said Amy Godsey, State Meteorologist. ”We encourage all residents and visitors to practice cold weather safety, especially around indoor heating sources that may pose a potential fire hazard to family and property.”
Overnight, temperatures are forecast to drop to near freezing across inland locations in North Florida on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning. These freezing temperatures are expected to last for up to 3 hours, and will fall into the 30’s after midnight. Freeze Watches are in effect for the Nature Coast in Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties, and a Frost Advisory is in effect for all inland counties in Northeast Florida. Freezing temperatures are not expected for Central and South Florida, but low temperatures in the 40s and 50s may feel exceptionally chilly, as these areas have not experienced cold temperatures since earlier this month.
Floridians should remember the "Five P's" of cold weather safety. The “5 P’s” are: Protecting People, Protecting Plants, Protecting Pets, Protecting Exposed Pipes, and Practicing Fire Safety. To stay cozy and safe during cold weather, remember these safety tips:
- Stay indoors and use safe heating sources.
- When outdoors, stay dry and wear multiple layers of loose-fitting, warm clothing.
- Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets. Use of extension cords may lead to circuit overload and cause a fire.
- Keep space heaters away from drapery, furniture or other flammable material. A good rule of thumb is to keep space heaters at least 36 inches from anything flammable.
- Do not leave space heaters unattended.
- Do not use a stove or oven as a heat source. An open oven door or lit stove burners can be dangerous and are ineffective as a heat source.
- Never use grills as an indoor heating source. Charcoal and propane emit carbon monoxide gas and are not suitable for indoor use.
- Candles are unsafe and ineffective as a heat source. Never leave candles lit in an unattended room or when going to sleep.
- When using a fireplace, make sure it is properly vented and that the chimney is cleaned periodically to avoid flash fires.
- Do not burn anything in the fireplace other than firewood and do not leave a fire burning when going to sleep.
- Install smoke detectors and make sure they work.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector if you have any gas appliances.
- Review and practice your family’s fire escape plan.
For more information on cold weather safety and the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit: www.FloridaDisaster.org.
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