Airdrie is bracing for a polar plunge this week, with temperatures expected to plummet as low as - 34 degrees Celsius.  In the face of low temperatures, Airdronians will seek ways to keep their homes warm. However, many residents are unaware of the potential fire risks associated with improper use of heating equipment.  

James Kostuk, Deputy Chief of the Airdrie Fire Department, emphasizes the need for residents to be aware of the risks posed by these devices when used incorrectly.  

“Space heaters pose a significant fire hazard if used incorrectly, you always want to be sure space heaters are never left unattended, and you want to give space heaters room to produce heat, so you’d need at least three feet on all sides of the heater.” 

Kostuk recommends using electric space heaters that are CSA-approved for indoor use or to use the home furnace. The Airdrie Fire Department also recommends homeowners ensure that their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in proper working order as cold temperatures approach.  

With the potential for increased snowfall homeowners with newer model homes are encouraged to check the air intake is free from snow and ice as they run an increased risk of fire hazards due to high-efficiency furnaces and hot water tanks.  

The Airdrie Fire Department experienced a 2-3 per cent increase in call volumes in 2023. There were 2516 events, 50 of which involved structural fires. 

Kostuk advises residents to prioritize safety, read up on fire safety, and create a fire response plan. 

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