Cold Weather Fire Safety

When it gets cold outside, we all like to do our best to keep warm, maybe near a fireplace or stove. Here are a few tips to stay safe and warm during the cold months:

• Keep dryer vents from freezing over or plugging.
• Keep an eye on elderly or home-bound neighbors.
• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or other space heater.
• Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
• Test smoke alarms monthly.
• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room and burn only dry, seasoned wood. Allow ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container, which is kept a safe distance from the home.
• Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment.