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Fires are on the rise across the area, but the Muskingum Valley Red Cross says that's to be expected. It happens every year because people forget to take precautionary measures before heating their homes.
The staff offer the following guidelines: call a technician to look at your furnice-and if you can't do that at least replace the filter-clean the chimney before your use it, and make sure alternative heating sources aren't plugged into extension cords.
"That's where the fires start. They start back in the walls when you're pulling too much electricity out of substantial wiring, " says Keely Warden of the Muskingum Valley Red Cross.
Warden also says it's important not to leave any of these alternative heating sources on if you plan to leave your home.
She says the devastation families face this time of year if they lose their homes multiplies. In the summer, the weather is nicer for you to do repairs on your damaged home. You can also live in certain parts of the home that aren't damaged.
"When you have a winter fire, your electricity is off. Your gas is off. There's no way you can stay in that home. So, we are looking at finding people places to stay longer than we would in a normal summer fire, " says Warden.
The Muskingum Valley Red Cross says it tries to prep its budget each and every year to make sure it will be able to handle an increased use of its disaster service budget.