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Winter Activity in the Home Can Increase the Risk of Fire

The soft glow of lights from a cozy home can sure take the chill out of winter.

And it's definitely the season for central heating, fireplaces, wood stoves, and electric blankets, as well as the delights of home cooking and holiday baking. It is also the time to be even more vigilant about fire prevention.  As noted by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) most residential fires occur during the winter months.

Nearly all the leading causes of house fires are everyday activities:  heating, cooking, using electrical appliances, children at play, and smoking.  More than half the loss of life and property in residential fires could be avoided with simple safety precautions.

Winter Fire Safety Tips

  • Every home should have at least one working smoke detector. Be sure to change your batteries every six months and replace them after ten years. 
  • As cooking moves indoors during the winter months, the risk for cooking fires increases. The #1 cause of house fires is cooking-related. Never leave cooking unattended, especially when frying or boiling on the stovetop.
  • Keep a lid the same size as the pan handy when cooking. If a grease fire breaks out, slide the lid over the pan to quickly extinguish the flames.
  •  As the temperatures drop, homeowners tend to turn to alternative sources of heat. When using space heaters, keep them at least 3 feet from flammable materials such as bedding, curtains, and clothing. 
  • The leading cause of electrical fires is the improper use of extension cords. Extension cords are not intended to be chained together, use only one at a time. 
  • According to the NFPA, failure to clean is the #1 cause of home heating fires. Have your chimney, fireplace or woodstove professionally maintained annually to avoid dangerous creosote buildup. 
  • Candles are a great way to add warmth and ambiance to a home during the winter months. Be sure to extinguish candles before leaving a room and keep at least 12" away from flammable decorations.
  • Have your oil burner and furnace serviced annually prior to turning on the heat for the season to prevent a puff back and soot damages to your home.