The cold front is upon us and often the only items available to keep you and your family warm are a gas or electric heater, the clothes on your back and some blankets.
All these items are safe to use accept for one, the gas heater.
Plenty of stories float around about how some may have exploded, burned down the home and caused many to be homeless. This can be due to incorrect usage and installation of the gas cylinders into these devices.
In June, four people in Johannesburg lost their lives in house fires, of which one was linked to a gas heater.
Another incident occurred recently in KwaMashu, Kwa-Zulu Natal, where approximately 100 homes went up in flames in an informal settlement after a gas heater caused a fire. Even though only four people were treated for minor injuries, many have been left homeless.
But a gas heater is not the only item in a house that could leave people in a fiery situation. Candles and paraffin stove accidents often cause huge informal settlement fires, which leave hundreds either dead or without shelter.
There are alternatives to gas heaters and fireplaces, though. One could consider purchasing thick, warmer clothing and blankets. Electric heaters and electric blankets can also be an option, or alternatively one can drink warm fluids or have soups before bed.
When using electric heaters, make sure the heater is not too close to your bed, as blankets can easily fall onto the heater while you are sleeping, and cause a fire.
It is advisable for everyone to use their heating or cooking devices wisely during the course of this winter spell.
The following guidelines can help you not only limit the amount of dangerous incidents, but insure everyone is safe while keeping warm in the comfort of their homes.