Now that the winter is finally here, we will be trying to keep warm indoors as much as possible. That means heaters and fireplaces will get good use. With any heating element, there are safety guidelines which we should all be aware of. Here they are, courtesy of the City of Burlington and the Brantford Fire Department:
Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months. Half of fires due to heating equipment occur between December and February. Placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn cause more than half of home heating fire deaths.
- Place all space heaters at least 36 inches away from flammable materials, including wallpaper, bedding, clothing, pets, and people.
- Do not leave space heaters unattended or in use while sleeping.
- Never place articles for drying over space heaters.
- Check electrical space heaters for fraying or splitting wires and overheating.
- Be sure space heaters are properly vented. Refill them in well-ventilated areas and only when they are cool.
- All space heaters should bear the label of an independent testing laboratory.
The leading factor for home heating fires was failure to clean creosote from chimneys. Have your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a year. Creosote, a chemical substance that forms when wood burns, builds up in chimneys and can cause a chimney fire if not properly cleaned.
- Clean the ashes regularly. Place the ashes in a metal container and store outside away from combustible or flammable materials.
- Always use a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against flying sparks.
- Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquids to start a fire. Use only seasoned and dried wood. Do not use pressure treated wood.
Keep burning candles away from flammable material such as furniture, wall coverings, tree, plants and other decorative items.
Use extension cords carefully. Never overload cords and use power bars with breakers, where possible. Never run cords under rugs or staple to walls or floors.
For more fire safety tips, visit http://www.brantfordfire.ca/fire_safety/Pages/SeasonalFireLifeSafety.aspx