Washington TownshipMontgomery County, Ohio

Fire Safety During Winter Months

Fire Safety During Winter Months
Posted on 11/29/2019

When the weather turns cold, there is an increased risk for home fires. However, many are preventable. You can reduce the risks of becoming a fire casualty by identifying potential fire hazards and following some simple safety tips.

Heating Safety

  • Use kerosene heaters and space heaters according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Alternative heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least 3 feet away.
  • Make sure your alternative heaters have 'tip switches' that are designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event they tip over.
  • Do not use the kitchen oven range to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes
  • Never refill a space heater while it is operating or still hot.
  • Refuel heaters only outdoors.
  • Make sure wood stoves are properly installed and at least 3 feet away from combustible materials. Ensure they have the proper floor support and adequate ventilation.

Generator Safety

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines when using generators.
  • Use a generator or other fuel-powered machines outside the home. CO fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.
  • Use the appropriate size and type of power cords to carry the electric load. Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires.
  • Never run cords under rugs or carpets where heat might build up or damage to a cord may go unnoticed.
  • Never connect generators to another power source such as power lines. The reverse flow of electricity or 'backfeed' can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker.

Electrical Safety

  • If your home has sustained flood or water damage, and you can safely get to the main breaker or fuse box, turn off the power.
  • Assume all wires on the ground are electricaly charged. This includes cable TV feeds.
  • Look for and replace frayed or cracked extension and appliance cords, loose prongs and plugs.
  • Be aware that exposed outlets and wiring can present a fire and life safety hazard.
  • Repair or replace appliances that emit smoke or sparks.
  • Have a licensed electrician check your home for damage.

Additional Tips

  • Be careful when using candles. Keep the flame away from combustible objects and out of the reach of children.
  • If the power goes out, make certain that all electrical appliances, such as stoves, electric space heaters and hair dryers, are in the OFF position.
  • Make certain that your home's smoke alarms are in proper working order.
  • Some smoke alarms may be dependent on your home's electrical service and could be inoperative during a power outage. Check to see if your smoke alarm uses a back-up battery and install a new battery at least once a year.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home and inside and outside of sleeping areas.
  • Al smoke alarms should be tested monthly. All batteries should be replaced with new ones at least once a year.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home, keep it clear of snow, ice and debris for easy access by the fire department.