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Home Safety Tips for a Safe and
Healthy Winter

In the winter, more home fires are started by heating equipment than any other cause. Portable and electric space heaters are the most dangerous. But it is possible to be warm and safe this winter by following these tips.


Portable Space Heaters

Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Make sure your heater has been tested for safety. Look on the bottom for a label such as ETL, UL or CSA.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Space heaters need to have plenty of space around them.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn - including furniture, people, pets and curtains.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • There should always be an adult in the room when a space heater is on. Turn off space heaters before leaving a room or going to sleep.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Supervise children and pets at all times when a portable space heater is in use.
  • Never use space heaters to dry clothing or blankets.

Fireplaces and Wood Stoves

Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Burn only seasoned hardwood like oak, ash or maple. Do not burn trash, cardboard boxes or Christmas trees because these items burn unevenly, and may contain poisons or cause a home fire.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
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  • Have a professional chimney sweep inspect chimneys every year. They will fix any cracks, blockages and leaks and clean out any build-up in the chimney that could start a fire.
  • Creosote logs can be used to help reduce the build-up of creosote in fireplaces. Check labels to make sure the log has been tested and approved by UL. Even if you use creosote logs, fireplaces should still be inspected by a professional each year.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Open flues before fireplaces are used.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Use sturdy screens or glass doors to keep embers inside fireplaces.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and inside or near sleeping areas.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Keep young children away from working wood stoves and heaters to avoid contact burn injuries.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Precautions:

Carbon monoxide is known as “the silent killer.” You cannot see it, smell it or taste it. CO claims the lives of nearly 300 people in their homes each year according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). CO is a deadly gas that is produced by fuel-burning heating equipment, such as furnaces, wood stoves, fireplaces, and kerosene heaters. Follow these guidelines to help keep your family safer.

Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Install at least one CO alarm near sleeping areas.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Have a trained professional inspect, clean and tune-up your home’s central heating system and repair leaks or other problems. Fireplaces and woodstoves should also be inspected each year and cleaned or repaired as needed.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Keep gas appliances properly adjusted and serviced.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Never use an oven or range to heat your home.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Never use a gas or charcoal grill inside your home or in a closed garage.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Portable electric generators must be used outside only. Never use them indoors, in a garage or in any confined area that can allow CO to collect. Follow usage directions closely.

Be “Ready-to-Go” or “Ready-to-Stay” if the Power Goes Out:

Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Stock up on batteries, flashlights, portable radios, canned foods, manual can openers, bottled water and blankets.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Use flashlights instead of candles to avoid a possible fire hazard.
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • If the temperature outside is below freezing and your home has no heat, run water at a trickle to help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting,
Home Safety - Home Safety Tips for a Safe and Healthy Winter
  • Store perishable food outside in the snow or in an unheated outside building if the power goes out.

* Photo Courtesy of Chimney Safety Institute of America

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