a cold, wet winter expected this year, courtesy of El Nino, you may turn to a
fireplace or space heather to help heat your home. Unfortunately, accidents
involving fireplaces and heating equipment are a major cause of preventable
home fires. County Fire urges residents to keep safe while they snuggle up this
Cold weather safety tips
to help you safely enjoy the fireplace glow.
Safety Tips for
Fireplaces and Other Heating Devices
* Before the cold weather
arrives, change furnace filters to keep equipment running efficiently and
* Place all space heaters
at least three feet away from furniture, walls, curtains, or anything that
sure to turn them off when you leave home or go to bed.
the Gas Company or a heating contractor if you suspect that your heater is not
* Check thermostats to
make sure the furnace doesn’t turn itself on before you’re ready for it, and
give yourself time to check furnace vents, especially floor vents, to make sure
they’re not blocked. Furniture and drapes placed over heating vents can
sometimes catch fire.
* Never install unvented
gas heaters in bedrooms or bathrooms, where the small room size poses an added danger
of rapid carbon monoxide build-up.
* Have your chimneys
inspected and cleaned by a professional before each heating season and have it
* Be sure to have a
proper spark arrester on all chimney tops to prevent burning embers from blowing
out of the top of the chimney and starting a fire on your roof or a neighbor’s.
should have openings of no more than a half-inch—a quarter-inch if you live
next to a wilderness area. If you have a manufactured fireplace, check with the
manufacturer for installation requirements before placing anything on top of
* Never use a fireplace
during high winds, especially if you have a wood shake roof.
* Make sure tree branches
are cleared at least 10 feet from the chimney opening.
* Store paper, kindling,
and other flammable material at least three feet from the fireplace.
* Store cooled ashes in a
tightly sealed metal container. Cardboard boxes, paper bags, and plastic
containers quickly catch fire. Even apparently cool ashes may contain enough
heat to ignite these containers.
* Be sure that you have a
fireplace screen large enough to block flying embers and rolling logs from
escaping onto your floor.
* Never burn trash,
paper, or green wood in your fireplace. These materials cause a combustible
build-up on the lining of your fireplace that may eventually catch fire,
possibly damaging the chimney and threatening your home.
* Make sure that any
fireplace fires are completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
* Remember, never use a
charcoal-burning barbecue or heater indoors! When burned indoors, charcoal produces
deadly amounts of carbon monoxide gas that is odorless, tasteless, and
invisible. Charcoal-burning devices are for outdoor use only!
Before lighting any
x Check to see that the flue is open.
x Keep a screen in front of the fireplace at all
times, especially when fire is burning.
x Before closing the flue, be sure that the fire
is completely out.
x Check the phone directory for a professional
fireplace contractor to assist you with any needs or questions you may have.
County Fire Department also reminds you to make sure your home is equipped with working
smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
A working smoke alarm
can decrease a family’s risk of perishing in a fire by nearly 50 percent. Just
installing a smoke alarm is NOT enough. It needs to be tested monthly and the
batteries changed every year.
well as working smoke alarms, every household should have an evacuation plan.
Practice it! Make sure everyone knows how to get out and where to meet. And
never go back inside a burning building!
someone is missing, inform the dispatcher when you call 9-1-1 .
belongings can be replaced – YOU CAN’T!
additional safety tips, please visit our website at www.sbcfire.org.