Winter can be one of the most dangerous times of the year when it comes to home fires – decorations can malfunction, fireplaces can light up, and heaters can overheat. Keeping your home and your loved ones safe from fire is something you’ll want to add to your winter checklist.
Give Space Heaters Some Space
It’s right there in the name! Space heaters are meant to heat a small space, but that space needs to be cleared of debris, clutter, and anything else that might be flammable if heated up. Make sure there’s a good, clear space all the way around the unit to prevent issues.
Get Your Furnace Checked
Your furnace may go years without an issue, but winter is the time where all our furnaces get kicked on after a long hiatus. After all that sitting around, a furnace may have unexpected issues that won’t be discovered until the coldest months of the year. Check your furnace out regularly for any unusual sounds/smells, and consider having a professional give it a look at just to ensure it’s in tip-top shape.
Don’t Load Electrical Outlets
Electrical outlets can only put out so much power! Extension cords and multiple outlet plugs can tap out an outlet, making it a prime target for unexpected sparking or other issues. Keep as few things plugged into one outlet as you can.
Keep an Eye on Decorations
Winter is a time where people enjoy using electric lights as decoration, but these lights can easily develop wiring problems that can cause a fire. These lights are generally stored away all year ’round, only brought out in the winter season, so wear-and-tear won’t be noticed until they’re used.
Be Aware of Candles
Candles are a beautiful decoration, and can really lift the mood during the winter months… but candles are a huge fire risk, and should be kept a close watch on. Make sure all lit candles have some kind of candle holder to prevent sparks from flying off and catching nearby flammable material. Also, make sure that there is always someone in the same room as a lit candle, so they can react if something catches aflame.
Always Attend Your Cooking
Unattended cooking is the most probable cause of a kitchen fire. There are plenty of holidays during the winter season that draw people to the kitchen, and plenty of visitors come around that distract the cooks from their cooking. Keep a watchful eye on anything being cooked!
Check Your Smoke Alarms and Fire Sprinklers
Check the batteries on all smoke alarms in the house, and always test your alarms every month to ensure they’re still in working order. Smoke alarms are often the first protection against unnoticed fires in the home. Likewise, make sure that any fire sprinklers you have installed in your home are functioning and in good condition.
Plan a Route Out
Lastly, make sure to sit down with your family and develop an escape route out of the house should a house fire start. Fires will disorient and panic anyone caught in them, so it’s key to have a plan in mind when and if an emergency hits.