Did you know that home fires are more prevalent and common in Winter than in any other season? In winter we’re more likely to use the fireplace, to cook huge family meals, crank up the heat, and to burn candles so it’s no real surprise. It also means that as winter rolls around, it’s important for all of us to be on our game to make sure both our home and family are kept safe.
The USFA (US Fire Administration) has some great tips for all of you as you’re fire-proofing your home and family this season.
We all have been feeling the pressure of increased energy costs (it’s not just that $5/gallon gas that tugs at our wallets) and people everywhere are turning to alternative heating sources to cut down on the costs. This means that this year, more than ever, you’ll find people heating their homes with wood-burning stove and space heaters. While this may save you some cash, it also means that you’ll need to be more precautious about fire hazards. Make sure that your stove or fireplace is kept clean and free of debris. Additionally, avoid burning wrapping paper and other debris in the fire as it’s more likely to become uncontrollable. And finally, make absolutely sure that all your fire and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order. Sometimes when you’ve had a long night, it can be tempting to leave the embers of your fire burning—this is never a good idea.
Winter Storm Safety:
Even though it’s hardly winter yet, we’ve already seen our fair share of winter storms this season. When extreme weather hits, make sure you have access to gas-powered heating devices (with a back-up of gas). If you are using a generator or a fireplace for warmth, make sure you keep an eye on it. If winter weather strikes suddenly and you haven’t had a chance to winterize your home—watch our for your pipes. Frozen pipes may burst and can cause contamination along with water damage in your home. It’s always best to follow precautions for winterization depending on where you live. I know that families that live in very cold areas or in the mountains are required to leave water running on very cold nights so that their pipes don’t freeze. It is prudent to put together an emergency plan with your family, including extra non-perishable food, drinking water, and battery powered flashlights and non-electrical heating devices.
CO poisoning is one of the scariest killers out there—not only is it silent but it can also come about because of a dozen different (and very small) problems with regular household items. For example, a faulty stove or a blocked heating vent can cause CO leaks. If you are concerned about any of your applicances, it never hurts to test the CO levels in your home with a CO detector. And, even if you aren’t concerned, every home in the US should have a CO detector. Like a fire detector, these gadgets are simple to install and can save the lives of your family.
I hope this has helped you think about your home and family safety during this winter. If you have any other tips, we’d love to share them with our readers. Additioanlly, if you want more information from the USFA, please check their website.