Help Desk: Property protection in wintry weather

6:26 PM, Jan 2, 2014   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- The New Year is off to a chilly start and the coldest air in four years is expected to make its way to North Georgia overnight. Freezing temperatures bring the potential for household and property damages. 

The 11Alive Help Desk received cold weather tips from Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens. 

It's natural instinct to pull out space heaters and stuff the fireplace with kindling when the temperatures drop, but Hudgens advises residents that heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires in Georgia. Keep portable units away from curtains and be sure to provide units with adequate ventilation.

GALLERY | Winter weather hits the northeast

Georgia law requires a smoke alarm in every home. A working alarm is crucial if space heaters and fires will be used to warm a room. According to the Georgia Department of Insurance, most fatal fires start between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Test current smoke alarms and replace batteries annually.

RESOURCE | Cold Weather Tips

Homeowners should also be aware of the inner workings of their home, including pipes. Leaving kitchen cabinets open will allow warm air to reach pipes, preventing a frozen disaster.

Icy conditions can potentially cause damage to vehicles, as well. Contact the appropriate insurance agent to report any property damage caused by winter weather. 

Before attempting to travel in wintry weather, consult georgia-navigator.com to view road conditions. The Help Desk has also gathered a county-by-county guide for reporting icy road conditions.

Be sure to catch the latest weather updates on 11alive.com/weather or sign up for severe weather alerts on your cell phone.

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