When temperatures drop, the risk for fire in the home can increase.
Let’s start with the kitchen: Most home fires start here. Never leave an open flame unattended. Always set a timer as a reminder to check what is being warmed up or cooked. When you are done, turn off the heat and remove the pot from that burner. Keep a large lid nearby when frying or cooking with grease to smother any flames that may start. Never ever attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water. Water on hot grease can cause a powerful explosion.
Heating the home: There’s nothing better than stepping into a warm home from the cold outdoors! Make sure your furnace is in good repair. Never use an open oven to warm your home. Baseboard heaters give warm, radiating heat, but keep them away from furniture, pillows or anything flammable. If possible, avoid using space heaters, but when an electric or space heater is necessary, invest in the latest model for the latest safety features such as automatic shut-off. Keep the heater on a sturdy, level surface at least 3 feet from flammable materials such as drapes and furniture.
Fireplace Maintenance: Before using the fireplace, call a chimney sweep to come inspect your fireplace, flue and chimney for creosote, debris, blockages or leaks. Install a screen or glass pane in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks and embers from ‘jumping’ out. And most important, keep the hearth and surrounding area of the fireplace free of debris.
Laundry Room: Nearly 15,000 home fires happen per year due to the clothes dryer. Make sure you clean those vents and ducts frequently and clean the lint tray after every use. You may choose to invest in drying racks to avoid use of the dryer especially when you are not at home.
Candles and Holiday Décor: A candle with a live flame is an obvious risk for fire in the home. Place them on sturdy, level, non-combustible surfaces and never leave them unattended. Always extinguish the flame before you leave the room. Also turn off any holiday lights, electric shorts or faulty wiring can be responsible for fire even with newly purchased holiday lights.
Your Family’s Safety is the Key: Make sure you have smoke detectors in your kitchen, laundry room and each bedroom. Test them frequently and routinely change batteries. Have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it but always call 911 before using it! Do you have a Family Escape Plan? Make sure everyone knows the plan and practice it often.
These Fire Prevention Tips will protect your home and more importantly, your family so that you can enjoy the winter together in a safe, warm and festive environment