Like it or not, summer’s long gone. This means we’re already in heating season, even if you’ve not yet lit your first fire or are resisting turning up the heat. While cozy homes are always pleasant, there are some dangers involved in keeping out the cold. Today we want to talk about a few of the ways you can protect your family and home from fires and other dangers this winter.
Carbon monoxide safety
According to the National Safety Council, over 400 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year. While carbon monoxide is a danger all year long, it’s a greater threat in the winter since we close up our homes and use heating sources to keep us warm. You can protect your family by taking a few extra precautions.
Here are a few to get you started:
- Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas- or coal-burning appliance in your home inspected by a professional every year.
- Never use a generator or portable flameless (chemical) heaters inside.
- Have carbon monoxide detectors in several places throughout your home and inspect them monthly.
You should know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include but are not limited to headache, shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, and confusion.
Additionally, you should know what to do if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, starting with immediately getting out of your home. Next call 911 and do not reenter the home until it has been inspected and cleared for re-entry. Never look for the source of the problem – simply leave!
There’s no doubt about it, a crackling fire is always a nice way to spend a cold evening. It is important to remember, however, that fires are always a potential hazard, even if they are in a fireplace. This means every member of your home should understand fire safety and be cautious every time a fire is lit.
Here are a few fireplace tips to keep your home warm and safe, all winter long:
- Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned professionally before the start of each heating season.
- Always make sure the damper or flue is open before starting a fire.
- Only use dry, aged wood for a fire. Using wet or green wood creates more soot, which can become a fire hazard.
- Clean out the ash regularly and don’t allow it to build up. Too much ash can make more smoke, which is a fire and safety hazard.
- Don’t leave anything that may catch fire near the fireplace, creating a safe perimeter. This includes curtains, furniture, blankets, and magazines.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy and make sure everyone can use it.
You should also install smoke detectors throughout your home and that you test the batteries monthly. And remember, you should never leave a fire unattended, even in your fireplace!
Please share these safety tips with your friends and family to help them stay safe as well. Let’s get through this season with no tragedies related to carbon monoxide and fires!