MCFRS News Release
Holidays are Approaching - Are You Fire Safe?
Time to Check Home Heating Systems and Smoke Alarms
As cool temperatures embrace the Metro area, the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service offer some safety tips. The fall season and the approaching winter months are typically the busiest time of the year for firefighters. Cooking, home heating systems, heating equipment and associated electrical systems, as well as holiday decorations too close to a heat source continue to be significant factor in structural fires in Montgomery County. Many of these fires can be prevented. The following fire safety tips and information can help you maintain a fire safe home and business this winter.
- Be sure your heater is in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon build-up. Inspect electrical systems for overloads.
- Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel such as kerosene, coal or propane, for (example) produces deadly fumes.
- Keep young children safely away from space heaters -- especially when they are wearing nightgowns or other loose clothing that can be easily ignited. Give space heaters space!
- Never leave cooking food unattended – it is the number one cause of house fires.
- Make sure you wear close-fitting clothing when cooking.
- Put pans on back burners and turn all pot handles toward the back of the stove.
- Never leave a child unattended in the kitchen. Close supervision is essential, whether children are helping an adult cook or simply watching.
Lights and Candles
- Decorate your tree using only UL (Underwriters' Lab Inc.) approved lights and cords. Inspect lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets. Do not overload extension cords. Use no more than three strings of lights on one extension cord, and never run an electrical cord under a carpet. Be sure to secure electrical cords so that children cannot pull them and topple the tree.
- Turn off the tree lights when you go to bed, depart from home or leave the tree in an unattended room.
- Keep burning candles out of children’s and pet’s reach; keep matches and lighters out of sight and locked away. Make sure they are in stable holders. Do not leave candles unattended – especially around children or pets.
- Do not place candles near draperies or anything that might easily catch fire. Make sure you put out candles when you go to bed or leave the home.
Other Related Tips
- Remember never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.
- Have your furnace and chimney professionally inspected and cleaned. Chimney tar build-up can ignite your chimney, roof and the whole house.
- Space heaters need space. Keep materials that burn easily at least three feet away from each heater.
- Working smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Test alarms once a month and replace the batteries at least twice a year. Home fires and home fire-related deaths are more likely to occur during the cold-weather months.
- Plan and practice at least two fire escape routes from each room of your home and identify an outside meeting place. Have an escape plan.
Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean it on a monthly basis. Don’t stay home without one!