Colder Weather Increases Home Safety Risks When You’re Trying to Stay Warm

By: State Farm
By: Ada Be

With the colder weather on the way more and more people will be turning on their heaters and starting fires in their fire place. While this usually feels good it can often lead to home fires and even death.  The most effective way to protect yourself, your family and your home from home fires is to identify and remove fire hazards.

To prevent a home fire in your home that means you should always be aware of potential hazards in your home. Here are some guidelines or tips courtesy of the City of Laramie Fire Department:

• Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.
• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
• Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
• Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
• Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
• Test smoke alarms monthly.

With the holidays approaching there will be more time spent in the kitchen cooking and baking.  Did you know that cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States?  The kitchen is full of ways for a fire to start: food left unsupervised on a stove or in an oven or microwave; grease spills; a dish towel too close to the burner; a toaster or toaster oven flare-up; a coffee pot accidentally left on.  Always supervise kids while cooking and practice safe cooking habits — like turning all pot handles in so they can’t be accidentally knocked over and not wearing loose-fitting clothing that could catch fire around the stove.

And speaking of the holidays, there are even more potential fire hazards to think about beyond the kitchen. If you use a real Christmas tree in your home, make sure to water it daily — electric lights strung on a dried-out tree are a recipe for disaster.All lights and lighted window ornaments should be inspected every year to make sure that cords are not worn or frayed, and all candles should be used with care.

These fire safety tips are courtesy of your friends at the City of Laramie Fire Department who would like to remind you that  the best way to practice fire safety is to make sure a fire doesn’t break out in the first place!