Homeless and homeowners trying to stay warm

Posted at 8:06 PM, Jan 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-21 20:06:09-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--It's tough for both home owners and the homeless to stay warm, when the temperature drops like it is expected to over the next couple of days.

For homeowners, a mistake can be expensive—in some cases, deadly.

Lt. Jason Elmore with Chesterfield County Fire and EMS says most departments in Central Virginia are expecting calls for service to increase as the thermometer drops.

A common mistake many people make is using extension cords with their space heaters.

Those cords can get extremely hot and run underneath a throw rug or carpet, can start a fire.

Those using wood in their wood stove or fireplace also have to remember to open their flues and dispose of the ashes in a proper container.

Dumped into trash cans, left on wood decks, or in a garage, the ashes can quickly start a fire.

Even the ashes need some extra attention since they can stay warm for up to 72 hours.

Kerosene heaters need to be re-fueled outside and with the unit off.

For the homeless, Richmond is opening up a cold weather overflow shelter at Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church on West Duval Street.

The shelter will operate from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m.

Then, in the hours it is closed, from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., homeless can stay warm at the Conrad Center, which is a part of Freedom House.

During the day at the Conrad Center help will be available, including job readiness training, working on resumes' and looking into permanent housing.