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 the flue pipe for holes and cracks. Soot along or around seams may signal a leak.
  • Keep combustible items away from the heating systems.

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

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