The winter months are known to be leading months for home fires and deaths
in this country. It is estimated that each year approximately 59,700 home
heating fires leave 1,350 people injured and another 406 individuals dead.
Keeping this in mind, here are some tips on how to stay safe until the
warmth of spring makes the need for "heat" a cozy memory:
- Have your heating stoves and chimney inspected and cleaned, every year.
- Place a smoke detector on each floor where your family spends time and
one outside each bedroom.
- Replace batteries in smoke detectors annually, and test them monthly. Smoke
alarms have a life expectancy of only 10 years; even if they appear to
be operating after that, replace them.
- Keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher in the house. Make
sure everyone that lives in your home, knows its location and how to use it.
- Follow the manufacturer's operating instructions when using any type
of heating equipment.
- Have your town fire personnel check installation and maintenance of heating
equipment where possible.
- Know what type of fuel is used in your heater, and do not substitute one
fuel for another.
- Check for cord damage if your heater is electric. If the cord is overheating
or is frayed/splitting, don't use it until it is properly repaired
- Keep at least three feet between a space heater and anything that can burn,
including clothing and furniture.
- Keep children away from all heating units: space heaters, wood-burning
stoves, the fireplace, etc. Never leave a child unattended when these
are in use.
- Turn off space heaters when leaving the room or when going to bed.
- Enjoy your candles, but don't leave any burning candle unattended.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the hands of children.
- Have battery-operated flashlights handy for power failure that sometimes
accompanies winter storms, instead of candles.
- Never use the cooking stove to heat the house.
The chill of winter is nothing compared to the chill of loss of life and
property. Proper precautions will keep you, your family, and your home
safe from danger while keeping you warm through the winter months.