Winter is a time of year when many of us look forward to snuggling up in front of a warm fire or enjoying the cozy glow of holiday lights. Unfortunately, this season also comes with fire hazards. From portable heaters to cooking accidents, a fire can break out in your home in many ways. Here are a few tips to prevent a fire this winter and keep your family and property safe.
Prevent a House Fire This Winter
Portable heaters are a popular way to warm up a room quickly, but they can also be a fire hazard if not used safely. When buying a portable heater, look for an automatic shut-off feature if it tips over. Keep flammable items like blankets, curtains, and upholstery at least five feet from the heater. If you have children or pets, use a space heater with a protective grate to prevent accidental contact with the hot surface.
Prevent a Fire When Cooking Winter Meals
Cooking is a leading cause of house fires throughout the year, but it’s particularly common in winter when people cook holiday meals and entertain guests. To avoid a kitchen fire, never leave food unattended on the stove, and keep flammable items like potholders and towels away from the heat source. If a grease fire does break out, never use water to put it out, as this can cause the flames to spread. Instead, cover the pan with a lid or use a fire extinguisher.
Safe Use of Candles
Candles create a cozy atmosphere but are a major fire hazard if left unattended or placed too close to flammable materials. To reduce this risk, use battery-operated candles whenever possible, and keep real candles several feet away from anything that may catch fire. Never leave candles burning while you’re out of the room or asleep; extinguish them completely before going to bed.
Fireplaces and Chimneys
There’s nothing quite like the warmth and ambiance of a crackling fire, but fireplaces and chimneys can start a house fire if not used and maintained properly. Before lighting a fire, have the chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional to remove creosote buildup and debris that could ignite. Use only dry, well-seasoned wood to prevent excess smoke and buildup of creosote. Keep flammable items like furniture, curtains, and rugs at least three feet from the hearth.
Install Smoke Detectors in the Home
Smoke detectors are your first line of defense in case of a fire. Installing them in the right places throughout your home is important. According to the National Fire Protection Association, you should have one smoke detector on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms. Install a device in the kitchen, as cooking fires are a common cause of false alarms, and place a smoke detector in or near the laundry room. Test the devices regularly to verify they’re working correctly.
Taking a few simple precautions can significantly reduce the fire risk in your home this winter. With these tips, you can enjoy a safe and cozy season with family and friends.