It may hurt to hear, but winter is right around the corner. Did you know that, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires are most common in the colder months? To commemorate National Fire Prevention Week, we put together some tips for home fire prevention in the winter to help keep your family safe.
Safe Cooking Practices
Cooking is the leading cause of
winter home fires. The kitchen can get a little crowded during the holidays, so
be sure to follow these safety precautions this season:
- Never leave appliances unattended while in use. Keep a close eye on the appliances as you cook and turn off all burners and equipment if everyone leaves the room. Turn the burner or device off immediately if you notice smoke or boiling grease.
- Don’t overcrowd the kitchen. When there’s too many people around, it’s easy to overlook obvious hazards.
- Turn pot/pan handles toward the back of the stove and beware loose clothing. You don’t want someone accidentally knocking cookware off the stove. Roll up long sleeves so they don’t catch fire.
- Keep a sturdy lid nearby. Be ready to snuff out any containable fires right away.
Safe Heating Practices
Heating is the second leading cause of home fires in the US, with
December through February being the peak months. Follow these heating practices
for enhanced fire prevention in the winter:
- Space heaters cause two out of every five home fires. Make sure they have at least three feet of space when in use and never place them (or other heating equipment) near furniture, clothing, mattresses, or other flammable materials.
- Always keep the doors of a wood stove closed. If you have one, you should only open the doors to add logs or stoke the fire.
- If you own a fireplace, always use a screen and have the chimney inspected at least annually. Chimney blockage causes smoke in the home and can quickly lead to a deadly fire. The screen will help keep embers from falling out and starting a fire.
Holiday Decoration Safety
Decorations such as candles,
indoor and outdoor lighting, and dry Christmas trees are also among the most
common causes of winter fires.
- Don’t leave holiday lights running all day. Unplug them during the day when no one is home and avoid connecting more than three strands of lights together.
- Never leave burning candles unattended. It may seem simple, but candles are used much more frequently during the holidays and can be easy to forget.
- Keep your tree watered, fresh, and away from hazards. Don’t let your tree dry out and become a fire risk. Don’t place your tree near a fireplace or where it might block doorways or exits. Never use open flames near or by your tree.
Check Your Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors
While following all these precautions greatly reduces the risk of a home fire this winter, there’s no absolute guarantee. Be sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are ready for an emergency. Stafford Home Service offers professional inspection, installation, and service of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to help you be prepared for any situation.
The Old Farmers’ Almanac predicts a long, frigid, and snowy winter, and we want you to be safe. Schedule a regular maintenance inspection with a Stafford Home Service HVAC expert today.
Contact us for all your heating needs.