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Get Ahead of the Winter Freeze

It’s not too early to begin preparing for the heating season. Check these 10 tips off your list and get safely ahead of the winter freeze.
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are working together to remind everyone that home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season. This is due in part to an increase in cooking and heating fires. Holiday decorations and winter storms that can interrupt electrical service and cause people to turn to alternative heating sources also contribute to the increased risk of fire in winter.

Winter fires can be prevented! The following fire safety tips can help you maintain a fire-safe home this winter season:

  • Make sure that your furnace has been inspected by a qualified professional within the last 12 months (a furnace should be serviced at least once a year).
  • Have all chimneys and vents cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional. Not cleaning the creosote buildup in your chimney is the leading cause of chimney fires.
  • Verify that your fireplace screen is metal or heat-tempered glass, in good condition and secure in its position in front of the fireplace.
  • Have a covered metal container ready to use to dispose of cooled ashes from the fireplace. The ash container should be kept a minimum of 10 feet from your home or any surrounding buildings.
  • Educate your children to stay at least 3 feet away from the fireplace, wood/pellet stove, oil stove or other space heater.
  • Verify that all of your portable space heaters have an automatic shut-off.
  • All portable space heaters should be plugged directly into a wall socket, NOT AN EXTENSION CORD! They should be placed at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn. Place notes around your home to remind you to turn-off portable heaters when you leave or go to bed.
  • Test all of your smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide alarms to make sure they are working properly. You need a smoke alarm on every level of the home, inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area. Carbon monoxide alarms should be located outside of each sleeping area and on every level of the home.

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