How to safely prepare for Central Valley winters

Colder temperatures can also mean higher energy bills. PG&E says there are several programs in place to help with heating costs.

Brittany Jacob Image
Wednesday, November 16, 2022
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You may have already fired up your furnace or fireplace at home for the first time this season, but fire officials remind you to be vigilant of fire safety.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the cold weather starts to set in, people will be prompted to turn up the heat.

Maybe even firing up that cozy fireplace.

Robert Ornelas is the owner of Ashtree AC & Chimney and says he's been busy with the recent change in temperatures.

He's cautioning people to be proactive, especially when it comes to homes with old brick fireplaces.

"To get it properly inspected with cameras, to verify if there's no cracks or breaks in the pipes so to speak," he said. "That way, heat does not go to an unintended place and cause something bad to happen."

Ornelas says if you smell a strange odor when lighting your fireplace, it could mean too much smoke is being released into your home.

If that happens, he says call the fire department.

Fresno Fire PIO Jonathan Lopez says it's also a good time to check your smoke detectors and to take the proper precautions when plugging in a space heater.

"You want to make sure that if you are using a space heater, you want to get the kind that automatically shuts off if it's tipped over," he said. "You want to make sure that you have three feet of clearance around that space heater so that it's not going to catch any bed sheets."

But for those who may not have a warm place to lay their head, the Fresno Mission comes to the rescue.

The local organization has officially opened its warming center doors. The lower temperatures forced them to open earlier than normal this year.

At 4 every afternoon, if you need the service, you can go and warm up with coffee and a hot meal.

Around 8:30 pm, they set up dozens of mats and blankets for people to rest and be warm.

"We believe that everyone should be shown dignity, and this is small way that we can show dignity to the people that are in need," says Priscilla Robbins.

Colder temperatures can also mean higher energy bills.

PG&E officials say there are several programs in place to help with heating costs.

For more information, click here.