BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)– Things may get a little chilly this week for the first time in quite a while.

Fire departments say it’s in times like these that call volume increases.

“The best thing that we can do is prepare for everything and anything, and that’s kind of what we put our focus on,” said St. George Fire Chief Administrative Officer Dustin Yates.

Yates added that the most challenging aspect of his job is watching as people’s lives are forever changed.

He said, “Everything that they’ve worked their entire life for could be literally gone within a matter of minutes, and it’s heart wrenching.”

Yates went on to explain that making wise decisions in how we choose to heat our homes can go a long way in preventing housefires.

He said, “Space heaters, portable heaters that people use in their homes or apartments when it gets cold. Super important that we keep all combustible items at least three feet away from it. Make sure that we’re also not overloading electrical circuits within the house.”

State Fire Marshal’s Public Affairs Director Ashley Rodrigue offered similar advice, saying, “So as people start utilizing these devices or objects that tap into fuels, any kind of heat creating objects, you’re going to start seeing a higher fire hazard present.”

The State Fire Marshal notes that Louisiana has already surpassed last year’s number of fire-related deaths.

“We’re already getting near that 75 number, and we’re just now hitting mid-October. That’s very concerning for us, knowing that the fire numbers tend to go up in the colder times,” Rodrigue said.

She said, in these instances, a smoke detector can mean life or death.

“If you have that working smoke alarm, when it does happen to you -because it does happen- that will at least get you the opportunity to get out safely. These fires, majority of the time, are happening overnight.”

St. George Fire Department has additional fire safety tips, which can be viewed here or in the image below:

St. George Fire Department Safety tips Courtesy: St. George Fire

If you would like a fire detector, you can call your local fire department.

If you are a resident of St. George, you can call (225) 251-4800.