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Is your home ready for winter?

Is your home ready for winter?
Is your home ready for winter?
State Rep. Stephen Bartels

Indiana winters bring cold and extreme conditions, making it all the more important to ensure your home is ready. All Hoosiers should check to ensure that their homes are prepared so that everyone has a safe and warm winter.

While the winter season is a perfect time to get together with family and friends, many common holiday activities can increase the risk of fire.

Did you know that five of the most frequent causes of house fires include cooking, space heaters, malfunctioning electrical equipment, lighting and candles? Celebrations, flickering lights and Christmas trees are hallmarks of the holiday season, but they also present fire risks that can quickly turn this festive time of year into a devastating one. Take precaution when setting up lights and candles this holiday season. To learn more about how you can prevent house fires, visit www.nfpa.org.

When cold weather strikes, it is important to perform a routine furnace maintenance check. It’s easy to take for granted a heated home, but a shut off or malfunctioning furnace can be dangerous. A fully functioning furnace is important for keeping your home warm and your family safe. Cold weather can be dangerous, especially for young children and the elderly, and it is critical that Hoosiers have a safe and reliable heating source.

If you or someone you know is unable to afford the cost of utilities and are worried about having your heat shut off, you may be eligible for help. Indiana’s Energy Assistance Program provides financial assistance to low-income households to maintain utility services during the winter. This program helps prevent utility companies from shutting off home heating service to low-income families. To learn more, visit www.in.gov/ihcda/2329.htm.

Taking these basic precautions will go a long way toward making your holidays warm, merry and bright. I wish you, your family and loved ones a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74, which includes all of Crawford and Perry counties and portions of Dubois, Orange and Spencer counties.

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