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Ga. Insurance Commissioner Offers Home Heating Safety Tips

Bill Breazeale and his wife, Louise, stay warm by sitting next to a kerosene heater at their home in Decatur, Ill., Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006, after losing electric power during last weeks ice storm. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Bill Breazeale and his wife, Louise, stay warm by sitting next to a kerosene heater at their home in Decatur, Ill., Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006, after losing electric power during last weeks ice storm. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Credit Seth Perlman / Associated Press
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Georgia’s insurance commissioner is offering consumers heating safety tips as cold weather lingers in the region.

Commissioner Ralph Hudgens says heating equipment is the leading cause of residential fires in Georgia. Hudgens says consumers should keep heaters and other equipment away from curtains, bedding and other combustibles.

Hudgens says heaters and fuel-burning appliances should also have sufficient ventilation to avoid the risk of fire and carbon monoxide exposure. He says anyone using a kerosene heater should make sure it has an automatic shut off switch if it tips over and use K1 kerosene, not gasoline — which can cause an explosion.

Hudgens says consumers should also install smoke alarms and rehearse family escape plans in case of fires. The commissioner says fires have killed 25 Georgians so far this year.