Check this Safety List to Prepare for Winter

Check this Safety List to Prepare for Winter
Posted on 11/01/2018

By UFA Assistant Chief Mike Watson

As the colder weather approaches, it is important to make the necessary preparations to ensure your home is as safe as can be. The National Fire Protection Association offers this handy to-do list aimed at winter safety preparedness. How many items can you check off?

  • Our furnace has been inspected and serviced by a qualified professional during the last 12 months. (A furnace should be serviced at least once a year.)
  • Our chimneys and vents have been cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional. (Not cleaning your chimney is the leading cause of chimney fires from built-up creosote. This service needs to be done at least once a year.)
  • Our wood for our fireplace or wood stove is dry, seasoned wood.
  • Our fireplace screen is metal or heat-tempered glass, in good condition and secure in its position in front of the fireplace.
  • We have a covered metal container ready to use to dispose of cooled ashes. (The ash container should be kept at least 10 feet from the home and any nearby buildings.)
  • Our children know to stay at least 3 feet away from the fireplace, wood/pellet stove, oil stove or other space heaters.
  • Our portable space heaters have an automatic shut-off and will be plugged directly into an outlet (not an extension cord) and placed at least 3 feet from anything that can burn; like bedding, paper, walls, and even people.
  • We have tested our smoke alarms and made sure they are working. (You need smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside each sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area.)
  • We have tested our carbon monoxide alarms and made sure they are working. (Carbon monoxide alarms should be located outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.)

Also, stay safe in a winter storm by planning two ways out of your home in case of an emergency, clear driveways and front walks of ice and snow to provide easy access to your home,  make sure your house number can be seen from the street, keep flashlights and batteries on hand, use generators outdoors, stay away from downed wires, use extra clothes and blankets to stay warm, and remember to check on your neighbors.

Keep in mind, too, that there are more home fires in winter than any other season. As you stay cozy and warm this winter season, be fire smart. And as always, stay safe!