Staying Warm This Winter

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As the temperature drops, the urge is to crank up the thermostat, or to find some other way to heat up the house.

That's what is causing some concern with local utility providers who want customers to stay safe and warm this season.

The concern comes from national reports of people dying in their homes during recent snowstorms pummeling parts of the country, mostly because they improperly heated their house.

The idea is with a little preparation, as we brace for a blast of winter we can avoid similar tragedies here.

The most obvious way to beat the winter cold outside is to make it warmer inside.

"We want our customers to be safe during heating season and always," says Springs Utilities spokesperson Natilia Sibert.

Sibert says C-S-U every year offers a few suggestions to customers who might choose alternatives over dealing with the part they dread.

"Probably the cost. Especially in the winter heating season," said Sibert.

Alternatives like wood burning stoves, small space heaters even turning on the oven as a way to heat up a home.

"If you use your oven to heat your home you are definitely increasing your risk for home fire...It's not something you should do, no matter what," said Cathy Prudhomme with the Colorado Springs Fire Department.

Prudhomme says each has a risk, be it fire hazard or the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning, but both the fire department and C-S-U say there are safe ways to use some alternatives.

Crack a window slightly if you're burning wood. It will help ventilate the room. Know how to use your space heaters properly to prevent tripping over extension cords, and turn them off before going to bed. Keep anything combustible at least three feet from a heat source, and never use the oven for heat.

If you haven't already, check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors: a small safety precaution during winter heating season.