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Winter safety tips offered to avoid fires from alternate heat sources
Fredericksburg Fire Department Deputy Chief Mike Jones reminds residents to be careful as the weather cools and we begin using our heaters again.
He notes that alternate heating sources are a major contributing factor in residential fires and provides the following safety tips to help protect your home.
Alternative Heating Source Tips:
• Keep areas clear around heat-producing objects (i.e. space heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves, and furnaces, etc.). A good “rule of thumb” is to maintain at least three feet of clearance between your heat source and any combustibles.
• Never leave a heater on when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep, and never leave children or pets unattended near heating sources.
• Do not plug electrical heaters in to power strips or extension cords. This may cause an overloaded electrical circuit.
• Do not use a range or oven as an alternate heating source. This is a safety hazard and may be a source of toxic fumes.
• Have your chimney inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary.
• Use only dry wood when burning in fireplaces or woodstoves.
• Allow your ashes to cool before disposing of them in a metal container with a tight fitting lid. Place the container away from the house. Sometimes it takes four days for ashes to cool down.
• Never place or store ashes on a combustible source (i.e. wood decks, porches, next to the house, etc.) before disposal.
• Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries. A good time to change batteries is when you change your clocks. The time change is less than two weeks away.
• Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room ventilation.
• Never fill a kerosene heater while it is in operation or hot. Avoid overfilling.
• Call 9-1-1 immediately when a fire occurs; time delays before fire department arrival can result in a much larger fire.
Remember fire does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much money you make or whether you are male or female. Following the above mentioned tips can help keep your family “FIRE SAFE”.