Items sell out as Central Floridians prep for winter weather

Fire, health officials offer safety tips

By Ezzy Castro - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Central Floridians are stocking up on a number of essentials in an attempt to stay warm in the freezing temperatures expected to arrive this week.

Heaters have become the hot items at Ace Hardware store on South Orange Avenue, and customers aren't second-guessing buying one in order to stay warm during the cold snap.

Residents are also buying fire logs, which were sold out Wednesday. 

Store Manager Paul Runs said his staff will be busy for the next few days as people continue to buy supplies.

Runs is also taking the opportunity to remind his customers about safety when using a heater.

"You want to make sure you try to avoid using extension cords with heaters. Plug them directly into the wall. The longer the cord, the more stress it puts on," Runs said.

Many heaters at Ace Hardware come with a built-in safety feature. 

"We want to make sure that it is kept 3 feet from anything that could catch fire, so furniture, tablecloths, even from children and pets," Assistant Fire Marshall Inez Pressler, with the Orange County Fire Department, said.

OCFD officials stressed the importance of heater safety and demonstrated the do's and don'ts to the public Wednesday morning.

"Sometimes, people will leave the rooms and they will leave the portable space heaters on that should be turned off, or when they're going to sleep, they should also be turned off," Pressler said. 

Firefighters with the Orlando Fire Department plan on going door-to-door on Thursday to install free smoke alarms.

The initiative comes after a house fire on Parramore Avenue on Tuesday that left one man dead and a woman burned. Fire officials believe a space heater is to blame.

Other items Central Floridians may want to stock up on ahead of the cold snap include warm clothing and undergarments, blankets and ingredients to prepare well-balanced meals and warm beverages.

Read more winter safety tips from health officials here.

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