Fire officials advise residents of safe ways to heat your home

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NORFOLK, Va. - The number of fires in our area are on the rise after this winter storm sent snow and freezing temperatures to Hampton Roads.

Norfolk and Chesapeake Fire Departments have seen several over the last few days and many have been caused due to people improperly heating their homes.

The city of Chesapeake alone responded to six fires since Wednesday's snow. Norfolk fought a fatal fire on Sunday night and battled flames again this morning.

Capt. Damon Langley spoke to News 3 on Monday about how to use space heaters, kerosene heaters and fire places. The best advice Langley gave, was to follow the owner's manual and keep these external heat sources away from children, furniture, curtains, or anything that could catch fire.

Also, officials advise residents to plug these heaters directly into the wall as extension cords or surge protectors can start fires.

Firefighters say now is a good time to check your smoke and CO2 detectors to make sure they work properly. It is also important to have a plan in place for your family of how to get out of the house in case of an emergency.

Unfortunately, the road conditions are increasing response time for first responders. They say the snow and ice are making it difficult to access neighborhoods, though they have been able to get to every fire call.

While the crews are determined to get to the scene of a fire or medical emergency, they advise callers that help may take a few minutes longer to get to them after that call 911.

Anyone who is able, firefighters ask you shovel out around fire hydrants so they can be easily accessed.