Safely stay warm during South Florida's cold snap

Temperatures forecast to be in 40s

By Neki Mohan - Anchor/Reporter , Ben Candea

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Fire rescue officials give safety tips for South Floridians trying to keep warm during the coming cold snap.

Temperatures are forecast to be in the upper 40s overnight Tuesday.

Broward Fire Rescue Capt. Tim Quigley suggests using space heaters or central heating.

"Never use your oven," he said.

Read: Coldest air of season moving into South Florida

Quigley also advised that homeowners make sure smoke detectors are working.

"The smoke may not wake you up. It's the sound that you hear that's going to trigger you and then you're going to wake up," he said.

Broward Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles warned of putting space heaters too close to bed linens or curtains.

"Get some extra blankets and bundle up and keep warm because even space heaters that you use should be turned off when you go to bed," he said.

Watch: Caring for pets in cold weather

Miami-Dade Animal Services offers the following tip before starting your car. Outdoor cats tend to seek warmth found under the hood of cars, therefore, if there are outdoor cats in your area it is advisable to lightly tap the hood to allow any cats the chance to escape prior to starting the engine.

With the cold snap moving in on South Florida, Sheriff Scott Israel also reminds residents to play it safe when it comes to keeping warm.

"Using candles to keep warm, or using an oven or stove burners to heat your house, is a fire hazard," Israel said.

The Broward Sheriff Fire Marshal and National Fire Protection Association offered the following tips Monday night for residents to stay safe during the cold snap:

  • "Install a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm on every level of your home and near sleeping areas and keep them in good working order and test them monthly. Carbon monoxide, which is colorless and odorless, is a silent killer.
  • Never use a gas or charcoal barbecue grill inside your home or any enclosed area.
  • Establish a fire escape plan (and practice it) with at least two ways out of every room.
  • Only use electric space heaters approved by an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriter's Laboratories.
    Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn -- including furniture, people, pets and window treatments.
  • Don't hide cords from portable heaters under rugs. Avoid the use of extension cords with space heaters. Use only heavy-duty, approved extension cords if you must. Always turn off space/portable heaters before leaving a room or going to sleep.
  • Supervise children and pets at all times when a portable space heater is in use
  • Never use space heaters to dry clothing or blankets.
  • When you turn on the heat in your home for the first time, expect a slight burning smell from the accumulation of dust that burns off the coils. This smell should dissipate within a few minutes. If it does not, or if you notice smoke or flames, call 911 as there may be an electrical problem."

Check the latest South Florida forecast and temperatures here.

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