Red Cross Tips For Safe Home Heating

The number of home fires increases during the winter.

There are more home fires during the winter than at other times of the year, and the ways we heat our homes have a lot to do with that. We may use a fireplace, a space heater, or a wood-burning stove; each is a potential fire hazard.

Keep yourself safe from winter fire hazards.

If you have a fireplace, have it inspected and cleaned regularly. A spark in the chimney is a recipe for disaster. Use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs, and never leave children or pets unsupervised near a fire or other heat source. Make sure the embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.

Fixed and portable space heaters, including wood stoves, are involved in 74 percent of fire-related deaths. If you do use a space heater, the American Red Cross recommends using a model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over. Place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface and plug it directly into a wall outlet, not into an extension cord. Make sure an adult is present if a space heater is on. Turn it off before leaving the room or going to bed.

Don’t use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside your home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.

Candles and tea lights can be decorative and romantic. They can also be deadly, so make sure an adult is in the room and supervising their use.

Keep children, pets, and anything flammable (for example, paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.

Continue to practice home fire safety.

At a minimum, make sure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home (including the basement), inside all bedrooms and outside all sleeping areas. Test smoke alarms monthly, and never disable them.

Make and practice (at least twice a year) an emergency escape plan. You need to be able to get out of your home in less than two minutes.

Have a prearranged meeting place a safe distance from your home where the members of your household will gather in an emergency.

Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to keep heating safety and winter storm tips at your fingertips. You can also visit us.


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