When the cold winter weather comes, your attention turns to keeping you, your family, and your living space warm. You want to be protected against the harsh weather and ensure that your home is adequately heated. However, heating can easily lead to a fire if not done properly. In fact, winter fires are often caused by heating. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating fires peak from December to February. Heating efforts, however, are just one of several winter fire hazards.
The winter season also coincides with the holiday season. To get into the holiday spirit, many will decorate their homes with various holiday décor, including bright lights and candles. If these decorations aren’t used in a proper manner, they can also pose as winter fire hazards.
These winter fire hazards make it crucial to practice fire safety. The last thing anyone wants is for a holiday celebration or a cozy night in to be interrupted by a fire. Use the following winter fire prevention tips to stay safe this winter.
Check Your Smoke Detectors
Accidents happen, but we have the technology to help prevent the worst from happening. One example is smoke alarms. With functioning smoke alarms, you can prevent fires from growing and causing significant damage. If it’s a small mishap, then you can be alerted of the fire in time to stop it from becoming a larger problem. If it’s a larger fire, then your smoke detector can alert you in time to evacuate the property and call for immediate help.
You need to have a sufficient amount of smoke detectors in your home and ensure that they work properly. If not, then you put yourself, your family, and your home at risk. Knowing this, you need to take the time to test every alarm and place fresh batteries in them. If you need new smoke detectors, purchase and install them as soon as possible. Furthermore, there should be smoke alarms on each level of your home, and there should always be a smoke alarm in your kitchen and every bedroom.
Get Professional Inspections on a Regular Basis
Annual inspections for your home’s furnace and chimney are important. These professionals will be able to check that everything is in working order and can help with issues before they cause any problems. For example, your chimney can have built up creosote that you may be unaware of. This creosote buildup is concerning because it can ignite and start a fire. With an inspection, a professional can check for and address such a situation.
Ideally, these inspections should take place before the winter because it ensures that any problems can be handled before you need to use your furnace and/or chimney. No one wants to deal with a broken or malfunctioning furnace or chimney during the cold days of winter when you need the heat the most.
Use Your Fireplace Safely
A lit fireplace can create such a cozy atmosphere on a cold winter night, but improper use could easily turn that comfort into chaos.
Practice fire safety by always using a screen when your fireplace is in use. This will prevent sparks and embers from escaping the fireplace and landing on anything outside of it which can start a fire. When choosing wood to burn, opt for drier wood that’s seasoned. This type of wood will produce more flames while resulting in less smoke.
Be Cautious with Heaters and Candles
If there are areas of your home that aren’t heated as well, then you may choose to warm that section by using a space heater. It’s a great way to ensure warmth, but space heaters must be used safely to ensure fire prevention.
When using a space heater, nothing should be blocking it or in its way. There needs to be at least three feet between the heater and other objects, people, and pets. Also, it’s best to not place space heaters near fabrics like curtains because they could easily catch fire if they come into contact with the heater.
Keep the same cautious mindset when using candles, too. Don’t have any objects too close to any lit candles and make sure they aren’t placed somewhere they might be knocked over easily — especially by any children or even pets. If you’re leaving the room, don’t leave the candle lit. Blow out the flame before leaving to ensure its flame cannot spread and cause fires.
Be Smart with Decorations
Dressing up your home with festive holiday decorations is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Whether you get a Christmas tree, put up garland, and/or hang up lights, your home is sure to look great. But you need to be smart about how you use the decorations. Improper use of such items makes them winter fire hazards. For example, if you have a fireplace, be wary of what you place or hang there. You don’t want any of the decor to catch on fire.
If you get a real Christmas tree, make sure you pick a fresh one. After you get it, trim the trunk and place it in water. Then regularly spray it with water to prevent it from drying out. When using string lights, make sure they’re safe, certified, and used for the proper environment. For example, only use indoor lights inside and outdoor lights outside. Don’t string more than three strands of lights together.
Getting Fire Damage Restoration Help
If you follow the aforementioned fire safety tips, then you give you and your home the best chance at making it through the season without a fire. However, accidents happen even with careful fire prevention. In the event that your home suffers a winter fire this season, get professional help for the damage right away.
ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete provides complete fire damage restoration services in Newark, NJ, and the neighboring areas of Essex County. We will provide immediate assistance following your call for help, cleaning and restoring your home so it’s healthy and safe to live in again. Within our services, our professional technicians will conduct emergency pre-cleaning that prevents permanent damage, content cleaning and pack-out, ceiling and wall cleaning, and deodorization.