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.
- Make sure your heater has been tested for safety.
- Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn – including furniture, people, pets and curtains.
- Never use space heaters to dry clothing or blankets.
- 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.
- Space heaters need to have plenty of space around them.
- 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.
- 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.
- Open flues before fireplaces are used.
- Use sturdy screens or glass doors to keep embers inside fireplaces.
- Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and inside or near sleeping areas.
- Keep young children away from working wood stoves and heaters to avoid contact burn injuries.