Winter Fire Safety

The different types of heating for the home are a major factor contributing to many residential fires during the winter. Many of these fires can be prevented, the following fire safety tips can help you maintain a fire safe home this winter.

Kerosene Heaters

  • Be sure your heater is in good working condition, inspect parts for any carbon build-up. Make sure the heater has an emergency shut off in case the heater is tipped over.
  • Only use fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER put fuel that is not made for your unit into it.
  • Keep kerosene or other flammable liquids store in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas outside of the house.
  • NEVER fill the heater while it is operating or hot, always avoid overfilling your kerosene unit also. Refueling should be done outside the home or outdoors.
  • Keep all young children safely away from space heaters.

Wood Stoves and Fireplaces

  • Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be UL listed.
  • Have chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
  • DO NOT use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening to prevent embers or sparks from getting out or unwanted material from going in.
  • Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors, burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep flammable materials away from your mantel, a spark could easily ignite these materials.
  • Before going to sleep make sure your fireplace fire is out. Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire heat up again and force carbon monoxide into the house.
  • When using synthetic logs be sure to always follow the directions printed on the package for there usage.

Furnace Heating

  • Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
  • Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists, do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified.
  • Have your furnace inspected on an annual basis to ensure proper working condition.
  • Check the flue pipes and pipe seams, make sure there well supported and free of holes and cracks. Soot around the seams may be an indicator of a leak.
  • Make sure the chimney is solid with no cracks or loose bricks. Unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.
  • Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.

Other Fire Safety Tips

  • Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container well away from the house.
  • Never use a range or an oven as a supplementary heating device. It is a fire hazard and it can potentially release toxic fumes.
  • If you use an electric heater be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry the amp load.
  • Avoid using electric space heaters in bathrooms, or other areas where they may come in contact with a water source.
  • Never thaw frozen pipes in your home with a blow torch or open flame, use hot water or a UL labeled device such as a hand held dryer for thawing.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so it can be located easily.
  • Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean it on a monthly basis.