WINTER FIRE SAFETY TIPS

FOR THE HOME

The high cost of home heating fuels and utilities have caused many Americans to search for alternate sources of home heating. The use of wood burning stoves is growing and space heaters are selling rapidly, or coming out of storage. Fireplaces are burning wood and man made logs.

All these methods of heating may be acceptable. They are however, a major contributing factor in residential fires. Many of these fires can be prevented. The following fire safety tips can help you maintain a fire safe home this winter.

KEROSENE HEATERS

  1. Be sure your heater is in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup . Be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in case the heater is tipped over.
  2. Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (coal or kerosene or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes.
  3. Use ONLY the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type fuel.
  4. Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas, outside of the house.
  5. NEVER fill the heater while it is operating or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling. DO NOT use cold fuel for it may expand in the tank as it warms up.
  6. Refueling should be done outside of the home (or outdoors).
  7. Keep young children away from space heaters- -Especially when they are wearing night gowns or other loose clothing that can be easily ignited.
  8. When using a fuel burning appliance in the bed room, be sure there is proper ventilation to pre-vent a buildup of carbon monoxide.

WOOD STOVES AND

FIREPLACES

Wood stoves and fireplaces are becoming a very common heat source in homes. Careful attention to safety can minimize their fire hazard. To use them safely:

• Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly. Woodstoves should have adequate clearance (36") from combustible surfaces, and proper floor support and protection.

• Woodstoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be UL listed.

• Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.

• Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.

•Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening, to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, unwanted material from going in, and help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants.

•The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15-30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.

Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.

Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.

Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials.

Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.

If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.

Posted 9:18 AM  View Comments

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