Firefighters and electric company offer tips for cold weather safety

Firefighters and electric company offer tips for cold weather safety

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - With temperatures dropping across South Mississippi, the concern is growing over the safety of those who don't have a warm place to stay.

Harrison County will open a cold weather shelter on Thursday and Friday at the multipurpose center in D'Iberville. People needing to escape the cold can go starting at 4:30 p.m. both days.

For those who choose to stay at their own homes during this cold snap, there are some safety precautions you should know about.

Ocean Springs firefighters check and double check their equipment every day to make sure that when an emergency call comes in, they have everything they need to respond. Firefighters said they respond to more house fires during the cold months of the year.

"The cold weather season, we do get more calls," said firefighter Brandon Bloodworth. "People start cranking their heaters up. Dust in the heating system might burn, setting off smoke detectors."

Mississippi Power also has tips for home owners about how to protect themselves during cold snaps.

"You want to protect your people, pets, plants and pipes. All those things," said company spokesman Bill Snyder. "This particular wave of cold weather isn't going to be bitter cold, but still, those are things to think about as we get into the winter season. You also want to check on weather stripping around doors and windows in your house. Keep your thermostat around 68 degrees."

Firefighters said when it turns cold, some of the ways people keep warm, like chimneys and space heaters, can become safety hazards.

"The space heaters, most of the new ones now days, if they fall over, they turn themselves off, but try to make sure they're not too close to the furniture or if you have kerosene heaters too close. That way it would catch the furniture on fire and with kerosene make sure it's well ventilated," said Fire Chief Jeffrey Ponson.

The Coast Transit Authority will be providing rides for people to get to the cold weather shelter. Harrison County is asking that anyone who wants to donate coffee, sugar and creamer to please drop it off there.

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