MANDEVILLE, LA (WVUE) - This winter has seen a number of fire fatalities in the metro area and fire officials on the North Shore say they are busier than ever.
They ask residents to take precautions when it comes to heater maintenance and the use of space heaters, especially since the temperature on the North Shore is 5-to-10 degrees colder than it is on the South Shore.
And if you needed any evidence as to just how cold it is on the North Shore, the fountain at Gallagher's Restaurant in Mandeville is a frigid example, as Mandeville stocks up on firewood.
"Oh man...we've been busy busy...we've been hauling truckloads," said firewood dealer Jason Jarrell, with J.J.'s firewood.
People who sell firewood are doing brisk business but as residents search for ways to stay warm a word to the wise.
"Your space heaters, your fireplaces, you need to be three feet away from them with any type of flammable materials, like clothing or drapes on windows," said Jeremy Windom with St. Tammany Fire District 4 in Mandeville.
Fire officials on the North Shore say their request for service has gone up 25-percent since winter set in.
"In the last day and a half, we have had 30 emergencies, and about 10-percent of those are related to cold weather," said Windom.
There have been a number of fatal fires in the metro area this winter and Mandeville fire officials are urging residents to take precautions to ensure they don't become victims.
Space heaters need to be plugged up to the wall directly, instead of extension cords, that's a disaster waiting to happen," said Windom.
Space heaters are in high demand, many store shelves are depleted.
"We're running out of supplies, you may want to come back Thursday or go to a different store," said Ted Merschman from Mandeville Ace Hardware.
Plumbers phones have been ringing off the hook, from homeowners dealing with cracked pipes.
Some say if you can't find insulating material, you should use old rags, newspaper or household insulation. Plumber Lee Laporte say faucets need to be wrapped outside the home, and pipes should be protected in your attic, as well as underneath raised houses.
Ace Hardware says it should be getting more insulating materials by Thursday. In the meantime, you may want to consider using pool flotation 'noodles', or checking with plumbing wholesales for pipe wrapping material.