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'Tis the season for safety tips
Tis the season, safety tips.jpg
With cold weather approaching, it’s time for homeowners to think safety and put a freeze on winter fires.

Stay safe this holiday season with some winter fire safety tips. 

“We do see an increase in structure fires during winter months,” said North Warren Fire Chief Ramie Roberts. “While some of them aren’t avoidable, some of them – like those caused by portable heaters and the use of candles – are.”

There are things homeowners can do to put a freeze on winter fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. 

If you use a

portable heater:

• Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off so if it tips over, it shuts off.

• Keep anything that can burn such a bedding, clothing and curtains at least three feet from the heater.

• Plug portable heaters directly into wall outlets. Never use an extension cord or power strip.

• Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.

If you are using

a fireplace:

• Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out and starting a fire.

• Do not burn paper in your fireplace. 

• Before you go to sleep or leave your home put the fire out completely. 

• Put ashes in a metal container with a lid. Store the container outside at least three feet from your home.

If you are using a wood stove:

• Have your chimney inspected and cleaned each year by a professional. 

• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from the stove. 

• Do not burn paper in your wood stove. 

• Before you go to sleep or leave your home, put the fire out completely.

Makes sure to have a smoke detector in every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test those alarms every month. Have a home fire escape plan and practice your plan at least twice a year to ensure everyone knows how to escape the home.

Additionally, homes need carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is called the “invisible killer” because it’s a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas. 

More than 150 people in the U.S. die every year from accidental CO poisoning from generators or fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fire places.

Candles fires peak in December and January with 11% of candle fires in each of these months. Christmas is the peak day for candle fires. 

An average of more than 7,000 home candle fires are reported each year.