As the weather gets colder and we spend more time indoors, it’s important to be careful about fire safety. Cold weather introduces more fire risks, like enjoying more time around the fireplace and using space heaters to supplement the HVAC system. Keep your family and property safe this season with these fire safety tips for winter.
Don’t Leave a Fire Unattended
Whether you’re enjoying a fire in the backyard fire pit or warm flames in the living room fireplace, always have an adult present to tend the fire. Flames can quickly grow out of control. Ask another adult to stay by the fire if you need to step away. Ensure you extinguish the fire before leaving home or going to bed.
Tips for Safety: Learn How to Use a Fire Extinguisher
Purchase a fire extinguisher for every floor of your home, and learn how to use it. In an emergency, an extinguisher can stop a fire before it spreads. However, if the flames are growing or spreading, leave the house and call 911.
Store Matches and Lighters Away from Children
Candles are often a part of winter decor and holiday festivities. Warn children of the dangers of live flame. Put matches and lighters away immediately after use, and teach the kids that lighters are not toys.
Fire Safety Tips for Space Heater Use
When using a space heater, verify it has a designated electrical outlet. Place the heater on a flat, level surface away from flammable materials. Make sure draperies, rugs, and furniture are at least five feet from the heater, and unplug it when you leave the room or go to bed for the evening.
Clean the Chimney
Before enjoying a fire in the fireplace, have the chimney cleaned by a professional. Over time, pine needles, leaves, animal nests, and creosote can build up in the chimney. These materials are flammable and may ignite if an ember from your fire floats up the chimney. A professional will have the tools and equipment necessary to safely clean the chimney and help prevent a fire.
Fire Safety Tips: Don’t Overload Electrical Outlets
Avoid overloading electrical outlets when hanging holiday lights and using appliances for cooking meals. An overloaded outlet can cause appliances to overheat and the breaker to trip. Distribute your lights, electronics, and appliances among outlets to help manage the electrical load during the holidays.
Test the Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors are essential for warning your family in case of a fire. Test your detectors monthly and replace the batteries twice each year. It’s also important to dust the devices during your regular housecleaning to keep them operational.
Following these simple tips, you can help keep your family safe from fires all winter.