Winter Fire Safety Tips
Home fires unfortunately occur more in the winter than any other season. These are completely preventable, and caused by some of the most practiced safety advice being ignored. Not to mention, ice and snow is some of the most dangerous environments for firefighters to work in. So for the safety of us all…
Home Heating Equipment
Involved in 1 of every 6 reported home fires, and 1 in every 5 home fire deaths, and half of these home heating fires occur in December, January, and February. Here are your home heating tips:
- Keep anything flammable at least 3 feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, and/or space heaters.
- Get your chimney and vents cleaned by a qualified professional every year. When cleaning out the fireplace, stored your cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container that is outside, at least 10 feet from any buildings.
- Only keep one heating appliance (ie. space heaters) plugged into a single outlet at any point, and turn off/unplug any heaters when not in use - especially when going to bed.
- Keep portable generators outside, away from windows, and as far away from your home as possible.
The biggest contributor to home decoration fires is candles - about 33%. Of these fires, the top 3 days are Christmas, New Years Eve, and New Years Day. Follow the basic rules to avoid your candles causing ignition:
- Keep candles generally a foot away from anything easily combustible.
- Never leave a candle lit when unattended - and especially not when going to bed.
Christmas trees are fortunately not common, as they are also some of the most dangerous.
- Water your tree! Even if it still combusts, a watered and healthy tree takes significantly longer to ignite whereas a dry tree can engulf a room in 63 seconds or less.
- Keep trees at least 3 feet away from heating sources such as fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles, or other vents.
- Don't block exits with your Christmas tree.
- Get rid of your tree after Christmas or when it is dry.
- Make sure you are following manufacturer instructions on how many light strands should be connected on the same line.
Want to help?
In any case of a fire, firefighters need to be able to get to a hydrant as quickly as possible. This can be difficult mid-season with the buildup of ice and snow on the hydrants. Clear out an area of 3 feet around the hydrant, in case firefighters need to use it in an emergency.
You've heard it before - Volunteers don't take a break, including the holidays. Observing winter safety practices not only help you protect your family and possessions. When a call is placed in the middle of winter, Volunteer Firefighters have to first drive to the station, respond to the scene, and then those same Firefighters need to do their job - all on risky and slippery terrain. You practicing safety means less calls placed, and less Firefighters risking their safety to help improve yours.
The list goes on…and it will! We'll be updating this list with more ideas as the years progress.