weather in the mountain communities sometimes brings the need for home heating,
and a little extra help from a fireplace or a space heater. Unfortunately,
accidents involving fireplaces and heating equipment are a major cause of
preventable home fires. San Bernardino County
Fire urges residents to keep safe while they keep warm. Following are some
cool weather safety tips to help you stay warm safely.
Fire Safety Tips for Fireplaces and Other Heating
* 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
burns. Make sure to turn them off when you leave home or go to bed. Contact 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.
Screens 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
check with the manufacturer for installation requirements before placing
anything on top of the fireplace.
* 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.