Did you know that most house fires occur in the winter, more than any other time of the year? December through March are peak months for house fires. The hours of midnight and 6 a.m. are prime for them to occur. Heating sources are one reason for an increase in home fires during the winter months. These sources can be space heaters, wood burning appliances and fireplaces, fuel burning appliances and chimneys. These, when used properly, are great ways of making your home warmer. However, if you aren’t properly and safely maintaining them, you are putting your family at risk. There are several precautions you can take to keep your family safe and warm and prevent a tragedy from happening.
Here are a few safety tips to keep your family safe:
- Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from any heat source. (i.e clothing, rugs, curtains, and furniture.)
- When using portable heaters make sure you avoid using extension cords and keep them away from children or pets. Also, make sure to turn them off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- With fuel burning appliances make sure, with the use of a battery, that the shut-off mechanism is working and fill your tank with fresh fuel. Let the heater cool down first because a hot heater can start a dangerous fire.
- When using an indoor fireplace make sure to keep the fire to a smaller manageable size. Keep your chimney flue clear, clean, and annually inspected. You also want to reduce the amount of ash build up.
- Plug only one heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.
- Extension cords should only be used temporarily.
- Do not pinch or cover electrical cords with items such as rugs
And, remember to check your smoke detectors to make sure they are in working condition.