Put A Freeze on Winter Fires

Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months. Keep your home and family safe this winter by following these tips:

Fireplace Safety

The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (27%) was failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys. Make sure to check and clean your flues and chimney. A blocked flue will cause smoke to back up into the fire pit and smoke will accumulate in the house. Click here for more from MIFD.

Heating

Heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths and injuries. December, January and February are the peak months for heating fires. Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, figuring in two of every five fires (40%). Never use an extension cord with a heat-producing appliance.

Carbon Monoxide

Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, etc. do not burn completely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO. Carbon monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months, and in residential properties. Install a CO detector and make sure to change batteries twice a year (at the start and ending of Daylight Savings).

Generators

Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission report, half of the generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February, and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools. Never use a generator or gas grill inside the home.

Candles

December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top two days for home candle fires are Christmas and Christmas Eve. Each year between 2013-2017, an average of 7,900 home candle fires were reported each year. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.

Electrical

Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. Roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while nearly another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters. Change your smoke detector's batteries twice a year (at the start and ending of Daylight Savings) and test annually to make sure it is working properly.

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