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Preventing Home Fires From Alternate Heat Sources

Baby it's cold outside, but it's getting expensive to turn up that oil furnace. More and more home owners are turning to alternate sources of heating. People are turning to firewood, electric heaters, and gas fireplaces for added warmth, but these heat sources present a new set of cautions for fire prevention. Electric heaters or electric fireplace: Make sure you read your manufacturer's instructions and heed the warning labels for your portable heater. Never leave it unattended, and always unplug it when not in use. When you do unplug the unit, pull the cord straight out to prevent cord damage.

Never plug the heater into a power strip or extension cord to prevent overheating. Keep flammable objects at least three feet away from the heater and never block the air intake or outlet. Wood Fireplace: Have a qualified person inspect and clean your chimney on a regular basis. Keep any combustible items away from the front of the fireplace, and cover the front with a glass or metal screen. Store matches or lighters in a locked cabinet.

General Safety Tips: Candles are commonly used during the holidays. Never leave them unattended or burning in an enclosed area. Always use stable candle holders that are not likely to tip over. Blow out the candles when you leave the room. Devise an escape plan for the family and practice it twice a year. Each room should have 2 exits and pick an outdoor meeting place. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Mark a date on the calendar to test them monthly and change the batteries every time you change your clocks. Clean the lint filter in your clothes dryer every time you use it. The build up of lint can catch fire.

Learn how to put out a pan fire by sliding the lid over the flames and always keep a kitchen fire extinguisher handy. Everyone in the family should know how to "Stop, Drop and Roll" if their clothes catch fire. To access the best air for breathing, practice getting down low and crawling as an escape strategy. Keep emergency phone numbers handy.


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