Fire Safety & Cooler Temperatures
As we make the transition to cooler temperatures, it is easy to switch on the heat without giving it a second thought. However, there are a few important things to know before turning on your heater for the first time this year. It is not uncommon to smell burning dust as dust can settle on the heating components during the warm months of the year. You can simply open a window or two to get rid of the odor. If the smell persists or you believe it could possibly be the smell of smoke coming from the system, turn it off right away, exit the home and call 911.
We would also like to remind all citizens that safety must be your top priority since heating is the second leading cause of home fires. Follow these suggestions to keep your home warm and safe.
- Keep anything that can burn 3 feet away from space heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves, and radiators. Remember that skin burns too. Make sure that people and pets stay 3 feet away.
- Use portable heaters that have been listed by a testing laboratory (look for the laboratory’s label such as UL or FM). These heaters should have an automatic shut-off switch so that if they are tipped over, they will turn off on their own. Plug portable electric heaters directly into the wall outlet; do not use an extension cord or power strip.
- Have your chimney and stove inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney sweep every fall just before the heating season.
- Evenings (5-8 p.m.) are the peak time for home heating fires during the winter months. Turn space heaters off when you leave the room or fall asleep.
- Install and maintain carbon monoxide and smoke alarms outside each sleeping area. Smoke alarms should also be placed inside of bedrooms, on every level of the home, and in the residence’s living room/den area.
- Older adults are at increased risk from home fires and have a higher home fire death rate, and heating is the second leading cause of fire deaths for people ages 65 and over. If you care for an older adult, plan for this increased risk. Check space heaters throughout the season. Ensure that bedding, throws, and clothing are kept at least 3 feet away — plan for emergencies. Older adults may move more slowly or have trouble hearing a smoke alarm because of hearing loss. Make a home fire escape plan around their abilities.