Be aware of winter fire risks

Published 5:08 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2020

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The truly cold weather of winter seems to have set in this week, and that means there is also a higher risk for home fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths and injuries. Space heaters are the type of heating equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, figuring in 40 percent of them.

Here are some of the most important winter safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association:

• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Test them at least once a month to be sure they are working.

• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from any heat source like fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators or space heaters.

• Keep portable generators outside, away from windows, and as far away from your home as possible.

• Install and test carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month.

• Plug only one heat-producing appliance, like a space heater, into an electrical outlet at a time.

• Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney and vents every year.

• Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container, and keep it outside at least 10 feet from your home and any nearby buildings.

• Never use your oven to heat your home.

• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.