Prevent fires by lending a hand
Next time you turn up your thermostat keep in mind that home heating fires are most common in winter months. In fact, half of all home heating fires happen between December and February.
Some people need a helping hand. The U.S. Fire Administration suggests reaching out to your older friends and neighbors to make sure their homes are heated safety.
There’s no way to stop winter cold from coming, but there are several ways to make your home both safe and cozy this winter.
Consider the following heating tips:
- Have a professional inspect your furnace, chimney and chimney vents at least once a year.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from space heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces and your home heating vents. Keep a metal or heat-tempered glass screen in front of your fireplace.
- Allow ashes from your fireplace or wood stove to cool before throwing them out. Place the ashes in a tightly covered metal container outside at least 10 feet (3 meters) away from your home. Never empty ashes directly into a trash can.
- Turn off space heaters and put out fires in your fireplace when you go to sleep or leave your home.
- Buy portable space heaters with an automatic shut off switch. If the heater tips over, it will turn off. Plug portable heaters directly into wall outlets, do not use an extension cord or power strip.
- Put carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. Test them each month.
Attached are Facebook and Twitter graphics that reinforce the U.S. Fire Administration’s winter safety messages.
Lend a helping hand
Share these heating tips with your older friends and neighbors. Make sure they have working smoke alarms on every level of their home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas, and take note of when they should test them next. If they don’t have a home escape plan, help them create one. Make sure they know the sound the alarm makes and how to get out of their home.
For additional home-heating fire safety information, visit USFA online at www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/heating.html. Follow USFA on Twitter at @USfire and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usfire.