Story image
Put a Freeze on Winter Fires

The winter months are the leading time of year for home fires, so it is important to keep fire safety in mind when heating your home during the months ahead.

  • Adjust the temperature. When you are home and awake, set your thermostat to as low as is comfortable, and turn it back several degrees when you are asleep or out of the house. Also consider installing a low-cost programmable thermostat.
  • Service your furnace. Have your furnace inspected and serviced by a qualified professional at least once a year.
  • Inspect and clean chimneys and vents. Not cleaning your chimney is the leading cause of chimney fires from built-up creosote. Have your chimneys and vents serviced by a qualified professional at least once a year.
  • Use a metal or heat-tempered glass fireplace screen that is in good condition and is secure in its position in front of the fireplace. If children are present, use a special child-guard screen.
  • Burn dry, seasoned wood in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • Place cooled ashes outdoors in a covered metal container. The ash container should be kept at least 10 feet away from the home, other buildings, or anything that burns.
  • Never use extension cords with portable space heaters. Space heaters should be plugged directly into an outlet.
  • Maintain at least 3 feet between space heaters and anything that can burn, including bedding, paper, walls and even people.
  • Turn off space heaters when leaving the room or sleeping, and only purchase those with an automatic shut-off.
  • Turn off electric holiday decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms regularly. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms should be installed on every level of the home, inside each sleeping room, and outside each separate sleeping area. For the best protection, smoke alarms should be interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Know your escape plan and practice with your whole family. If possible, know two ways out of every room.