MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Governor Henry McMaster declared this week as Winter Weather Preparedness Week in hopes that residents will do what it takes to make their homes safe this winter.
As people are preparing to pull out the electric space heaters and light up the fire place, public safety officials are urging people to check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
“If your house does catch fire, you know, we’re coming as fast as we can, but that’s what’s going to save your life,” Captain Matthew Rice with Horry County Fire Rescue explained.
Even though a heavy winter occurs on occasion, Thomas Bell with Horry County Emergency Management said not to let your guard down.
“Even just a little bit of snow or a little bit of ice can cause big problems down in the southeast,” Bell said.
Before warming up just take a few minutes to check your alarms.
“There’s just a little button right here that says ‘push to test’ and the light flashes green every once and a while and that shows you that it’s working properly.”
Also hearing the alarm is an indicator that it is working. Rice said both alarms have a 10 year life span and should be checked every month or so. However, every home doesn’t need a carbon monoxide alarm.
“This is only if you have something in your house – those people that may have a propane fireplace they use to help keep warm in the winter,” Rice said. Homes with gas ovens or space heaters should also have a functioning carbon monoxide alarm.
Also, if planning to bring out the space heater this winter, be aware.
“The two biggest rules with electric space heaters it to plug them directly into the wall and keep three feet of clearance all the way around them,” Rice said.
As apart of HCFR’s Community Risk Reduction Program, the department is installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for free. HCFR has been installing free detectors for 15 years.
Nearly 2,000 detectors were installed in homes across the county last year. Rice hopes the pandemic won’t stop people from taking safety precautions this winter.
“Our guys can come in. They are good at what they do. They put them in all the time and they come in they get them installed and they get out of your house,” he said.
Installation takes about 15 minutes and crews will be wearing masks. Residents must register online for installation.