24/7 EMERGENCY NUMBER

1-800-392-7000

24/7 EMERGENCY NUMBER

1-800-392-7000

Winter Fire Prevention Tips

Winter Fire Prevention Tips

December, January, and February are the leading months for home fires as well as home fire deaths in the US. Winter house fires are most commonly caused by misuse or improper maintenance of heating equipment and holiday decorations.

During the winter months, the number of fires increases exponentially due to increased use of heating units, flammable decorations next to heating sources, and improper maintenance of heating equipment and holiday decorations such as lights.

Holiday lights, electric blankets, space heaters, and chimneys should be inspected and maintained each year prior to use.

To reduce the risk of fire during the winter months, follow these winter fire prevention tips:

  • Have your chimney, furnace, etc inspected each year
  • Do not burn wrapping paper or Christmas tree limbs in the fireplace. They burn very quickly, throwing off sparks and possibly causing the creosote that has previously accumulated in the chimney to ignite
  • Always use a screen in front of the fireplace. Also consider using a fire-resistant carpet or mat (made for fireplaces) on the floor in front of the fireplace
  • Use your space heaters wisely:
    • Clear a 3-foot area around space heaters
    • Unplug space heater when not in use
    • Purchase a space heater that will automatically shut off if it falls or tips over
    • Plug electric portable space heaters directly into wall sockets, not into an extension cord
  • Do not put comforters, bedspreads, or anything else on top of an electric blanket while it is turned on. Do not tuck your electric blanket into your mattress
  • Review your fire escape plan with your family
  • Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm. Inspect and clean dust from the covers of your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms each month
  • Avoid using lighted candles altogether. Try safer alternatives such as battery-powered candles. Never leave a burning candle unattended or let them burn completely
  • Do not connect more than 3 strands of holiday lights together and check to make sure there are no tears in the coating or exposed wires
  • Water your Christmas tree to keep it fresh, green, and full of needles as dried-out trees can easily catch fire. If purchasing an artificial tree, find one that is fire resistant