COLUMBIA, S.C. — As temperatures cool, first responders are hoping to keep residents informed of potential hazards like space heaters and uncleaned fireplaces.
According to a study by the National Fire Protection Association, roughly 75 percent of fire-related deaths and injuries start at home.
Cooking, heating equipment, and smoking are some of the leading causes.
"We always tell people, if any way possible, just use your conventional heater and not use space heaters," Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said. "Don't go to sleep with these heaters on. If you're going to use them, make sure that you're alert at all times."
He says space heaters should not be used close to flammable objects, children or pets.
Consumers should also avoid placing heaters on furniture where they can tip over and check smoke alarms and heating systems regularly.
"Even conventional heaters, you want to get those things checked," Chief Jenkins said.
Darionte Brown lives on Knightbridge Road in Northeast Columbia. He says fire safety has been a priority for his family, after his neighbors home caught on fire last month. Two people were hospitalized. The cause is unclear.
"I remember seeing everyone outside trying to help.... It was actually really sad to see the fire trucks and everything," Brown said. "It did make us more cautious. I checked all of the smoke alarms and things like that. So, I'd say make sure your batteries in your smoke alarm are good, make sure they actually work, and have a plan.”
With preparation ahead of cool weather, first responders are hoping fewer fires will take place.