It’s that time of year when the temperatures drop to a bitter low. During the winter months, we tend to spend more time at home with our family and loved ones, so what better way to protect them than by making sure your home is protected from any fire hazards. Santa Barbara County Fire Department has provided the tips below:
Have Your Furnace Checked
Although this is something that many people believe they can do themselves, it is often safer to invest in hiring a professional to come and inspect your furnace annually. It’s always better to know when something is not working properly than to have it abruptly break down in those cold winter months when you need heat the most.
Check Your Chimneys and Vents
Fireplaces can produce creosote which has the capability of igniting. If your family lights the fireplace often, you most likely need an annual chimney inspection to make sure that there are no hazards capable of starting a fire. It’s important to always remember that when burning wood, use dry, seasoned wood which produces more flame with less smoke.
Test Your Smoke Alarms
You always want to double check that your batteries are fresh and will last you through the winter. Smoke detectors are required in the following locations:
- the hallway outside the bedrooms
- in each bedroom
- on every floor regardless of whether there is a bedroom on that floor
Always Cover Your Fireplace with a Screen
Either a metal screen or tempered glass will suffice to protect any sparks from leaving the fireplace. Still, you always want to make sure to keep kids and pets at least three feet away from a burning fireplace.
Beware of Lit Candles
Although candles can set the mood for a relaxing and calming evening, they can be easily knocked over by kids or pets. Only light candles when you are alert and able to watch them, blowing them out whenever you intend to leave the room.
Beware of Space Heaters
These devices require a good amount of space to be used without any fire hazards. Just like fireplaces, children and pets should not sit closer than three feet in front of a space heater. Avoid placing heaters near curtains, tablecloths or other flapping fabrics. Always make sure your space heater has an automatic shut off switch, which forces the heater to shut-off as soon as it reaches a dangerously high heat level.
The U.S. Fire Administration is also offering Holiday Fire Safety Tips:
The winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. It’s fun to decorate for the winter holidays, but holiday decorations can increase your risk for a home fire. As you deck the halls this season, be fire smart.
Following a few simple tips can help make your holidays fire-safe:
- Water your live Christmas tree every day. A dry tree is a fire hazard. Trees too close to a heat source cause 1 in every 4 winter fires.
- Make sure you are using the right lights. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.
- Choose holiday decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Keep lit candles away from decorations and things that can burn. More than 1/3 of home decoration fires are started by candles. Consider using flameless candles, they look very similar and are safer.
- Blow out lit candles and turn off all light strings and decorations when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Make sure your decorations don’t block windows and doors.