West Mayfield Emergency Response Tip: Cold Weather Fire Safety

The West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department reminds us to be fire-safe during cold weather:

Portable Heaters
* Portable or alternative heating devices used incorrectly can create fire hazards.

* Keep children and pets away from the heater; maintain 3 feet of clearance to combustible materials.

* Only use heaters that are in good working condition.

* Be sure the heater has an emergency shutoff in case the heater is tipped over.

* Read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions.

* Only purchase and use heaters that have been tested by an approved testing laboratory.

Kerosene Heaters
* Many people use kerosene heaters to supplement their household heating system. When improperly used, kerosene heaters can be extremely dangerous.

* Inspect exhaust parts for black, carbon buildup.

* Fuels such as kerosene can produce deadly fumes, so it is important that the room is adequately vented. Most manufacturers require a window or door to the exterior to be open 1-3 inches to provide fresh air.

* Use fuels recommended by the manufacturer (only use kerosene in a kerosene heater).

* Fill and re-fill the heater outdoors after it has cooled.

* Keep the heater away from children, pets and combustible materials (maintain 3 feet of clearance).

Electric Heaters
* Never place under a desk or on top of combustible items. Electric heaters need space too.

* Plug directly into an electric outlet. Don’t use an extension cord, as it  can easily overheat.

* Do not use in wet or damp conditions.

Furnace Heating Safety
* Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.

* Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified.

* Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system (maintain 3 feet of clearance.

Wood Stove and Fireplace Safety
* Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly. Wood stoves should have proper floor support as well as adequate clearance (36″) from combustible materials.

* Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary.

* Do not use flammable liquids, like gasoline, to start or accelerate any fire.

* Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening, to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, and to help prevent the possibility of burns to people and pets.

* Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.

* Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.

* Keep combustible materials away from your fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite theses materials.

* Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out.

* Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.

* Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.

And Remember…Smoke alarms save lives!
* Some smoke alarms may be dependent on your home’s electrical service and could be inoperative during a power outage.

* Check to see if your smoke alarm uses a back-up battery and install a new battery at least once a year.

* Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home.

* All smoke alarms should be tested monthly.

Special thanks to the City of Georgetown, South Carolina

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