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  • Writer's pictureDivina Tesorero

Is your Home Prepared to Prevent Winter Fire Hazard?

Here are some of the Safety Guidelines for Fire Prevention This Winter

Wood-Burning Appliances

  • Before firing up a wood stove or fireplace, have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned.

  • Keep flammable objects at least three feet from a wood stove or fireplace.

  • Never use flammable liquids to start or accelerate a fire in a fireplace or wood stove.

  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of a fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from flying out into the surrounding area.

  • Never use excessive amounts of paper to overbuild a fire in fireplaces. That may ignite the creosote in the chimney.

  • Make sure your fireplace fire is out before going to sleep.

  • Before closing your fireplace damper, ensure the ashes are cool. Closing the damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force carbon monoxide into your home.

  • If you use synthetic logs, follow the directions on the package. Use only one synthetic log at a time and never break one apart to quicken the fire.

  • Discard cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container. Store the container outside and away from the house.

Gas Furnace

  • Have your furnace inspected to ensure that it’s in good working condition.

  • Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, install additional pipe insulation.

  • Check that the flue pipe and pipe seams are well supported and without holes and cracks. Soot along or around seams may signal a leak.

  • Keep combustible items away from the heating system.

Other Fire Safety Tips

  • Keep portable generators outside, away from windows, and as far away as possible from your home to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.

  • Never use a range or an oven for heating. Not only is it a safety hazard, but it can also be a source of carbon monoxide.

  • If you use electric heaters, plug only one heater into a wall outlet at a time to avoid overloading the circuit. If you can’t use a wall outlet, use extension cords of the same size or larger than the heater’s electrical cord.

  • Avoid using electric heaters in bathrooms or other areas where water is frequently used.

  • Never try to thaw frozen water pipes with a blow torch or other open flame. The pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space.

  • Regularly plan and practice your fire escape plan with your family. Establish two exits in each room.

  • Use emergency escape ladders to exit through windows in case the primary escape route is blocked.

  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home, keep it clear of snow to help the fire department locate it in case of a fire.

By practicing these few safety habits, you can stay cozy and safe this winter:

  • Test your smoke alarms once a month to ensure they are in working order

  • Keep all space heater a minimum of 3 feet away from any flammable materials

  • Plug space heaters directly into outlets, do not use extension cords or power strips

  • Look to purchase heaters that have an automatic shut off, or make a reminder to turn your heater off whenever you leave the room

  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace, and dispose of ashes in a metal container with a lid and put outside at least 3 feet away from your house.

  • Always put out your fireplace or wood stove before bed

  • Do not burn paper in your fireplace or wood stove, and keep all paper materials away from heaters.

  • Maintain your heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected each year by a professional

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