Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

January 26, 2013

Safety Tips: Winter Fires


Submitted

CROSSVILLE — More fires occur during the winter months than at any other time. Fortunately, taking simple precautions can prevent most fires. Follow the safety tips below to help ensure your safety:

Portable Heaters

· Put at least three feet of empty space between heaters and everything else.

· Vacuum and clean the dust and lint from all heaters.

· If the cord gets hot, frayed or cracked, have the heater serviced.

· Never use extension cords with portable electric heaters.

· Turn off portable heaters when leaving or sleeping.

· An adult should always be present when anyone is using a space heater around children.

· Make sure your portable electric heater is UL approved and has a tip-over shut off function.

Woodstove and Fireplace Safety

· Have a certified chimney sweep clean and inspect your fireplace.

· Place ashes outdoors in a covered metal container at least three feet away from anything that burns.

· To prevent flue fires, burn dry, well-seasoned wood.

· Always use a fireplace screen made of sturdy metal or heat-tempered glass. If children are present, use a special child-guard screen.

Generators

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible killer. You cannot see or smell it. A generator's exhaust contains poisonous CO, which can kill you in a matter of minutes. Follow these important generator safety tips:

· Never use a portable generator inside a home, garage, shed or other partially enclosed space, even if doors and windows are open.

· Place portable generators outside only, far away from the home. Keep the generator away from openings to the home, including doors, windows, and vents.

· Read the label on the generator and the owner's manual, and follow the instructions.

· Install CO alarms with battery backup in the home outside each sleeping area.

· Get to fresh air immediately if you start to feel sick, weak or dizzy. CO poisoning from exposure to generator exhaust can quickly lead to incapacitation and death.

· Be sure generator fuel is properly and safely stored.

· Always refuel the generator outdoors and away from any ignition sources.

· If you choose to have a generator permanently connected to your home's electrical system, make sure a licensed electrician installs it and be sure to notify your electric company.

Candles

· Place candles in sturdy, fireproof candleholders where they cannot be knocked over.

· Make sure all candles are out before going to bed or leaving the house.

· Keep candles, matches, and lighters out of children's reach.

Smoke Alarms and Home Escape Plans

· Install smoke alarms outside each sleeping area and in each bedroom.

· Test and vacuum your smoke alarms each month to make sure they are working.

· Smoke alarms 10 years old or older need to be replaced with new units.

· Prepare by knowing two ways out of every room.

· Practice your escape plan with your whole family at least twice a year.

· Do not attempt to go back into a burning home.