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Watertown Fire Rescue calls for safety reminders during cold spell

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 6:37 PM CST
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WATERTOWN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Following a string of fires earlier this week in the cold weather, Watertown Fire Rescue is reminding people to take stock of the potential fire hazards they may have in their home.

Often trying to fend off the cold temperatures, Lieutenant Chad Fischer said winter is often a time of heightened fire risk. But nothing should top fire safety, especially in the winter.

“You just need to use a lot of common sense and stay safe. And these are trying times. When you see 35 below zero outside, and your house is cold, your family is cold. But still safety’s got to be the number one priority.” Lt. Fischer said.

And when dealing with freezing pipes, and drafty houses both new and older, people may go to those desperate forms of heating. But Firefighter/Paramedic Tanner Sittig said it only makes the situation worse.

“People start doing desperate things to keep their water flowing, and to keep their houses warm and different things like that. It puts them in a more precarious situation.” Sittig said.

Fischer said appliances like space heaters are usually the cause of many winter fires they see in residential buildings. But said that extension cords, often older or used improperly, also pose a risk.

“Everybody unfortunately has that old go-to for an extension chord. May have been handed down from your dad, or even one that grandpa had laying around.” Lt. Fischer said.

He said fire safety in the winter time is something Fire Rescue push every year and will continue to push, not only everyone’s safety at home but for their crews as well.

“The elements, the weather definitely add a whole other tangent to fighting fires, the cold weather.”

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