1. Media Center
  2. News & Updates

Huntsville Fire & Rescue provides fire safety tips ahead of extreme cold

Published on December 20, 2022

Huntsville Fire & Rescue is urging the public to practice fire safety as extreme cold weather approaches the Tennessee Valley.

Meteorologists expect a strong Arctic air mass will push through the region beginning the night of Thursday, Dec. 22, through the holiday weekend. The National Weather Service projects temperatures will dip to the single digits at times with wind chill values as low as minus 15 degrees. Snow flurries are also possible Thursday evening and Friday morning.

In the event of power outages, Fire & Rescue Chief Mac McFarlen advises residents against using traditional candles for emergency lighting. Citizens should turn to flameless or LED candles, flashlights and other means of lighting instead.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), Christmas is the peak day for candle fires. Add potentially high winds to the mix, and the risk increases. For those who do use traditional candles, the USFA recommends keeping them at least 12 inches from anything that could burn.

“With winter weather expected throughout the weekend, we encourage everyone to only use flameless candles, which are a safe and smoke-free option,” he said. “We also advise against unnecessary outdoor fire pits during high winds, as sparks from the fire can travel to surrounding vegetation or structures, causing a potentially devastating fire.”

Other fire safety tips during extreme cold:

  1. Ensure all smoke alarms are functioning properly
  2. Keep fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators or space heaters at least 3 feet from flammable surfaces
  3. Place portable generators outside, away from windows and as far away from your home as possible