With winter on the way, you’ll soon be turning up the thermostat, unpacking space heaters, and building fires in the fireplace. Here are some tips to prevent house fires this winter.

Use Space Heaters With Care

Portable heaters work well for heating single rooms and small spaces. However, if operated too close to flammable materials, they can be a fire hazard. Keep space heaters a minimum of one meter away from upholstery, bedding, throw pillows, and furniture. Purchase heaters with a safety feature that automatically turns the appliance off if it is tipped over.

Prevent House Fires by Cleaning the Chimney

When wood is burned in the fireplace, the smoke rises and creosote condenses on the chimney walls. According to the National Fire Code, a buildup of more than 3mm of creosote constitutes a fire hazard. At least annually, hire a professional chimney sweep to clean the flue. He or she will remove animal nests, leaves, creosote buildup, and other debris.

Safety With Holiday Lights

When purchasing an artificial tree, look for one that is fire-resistant. If you’re planning to decorate a real tree this season, make sure it’s fresh. Needles should be green and not dropping off. Water the tree often. The average cut tree will need around 2-4 liters of water each day.

Read the labels on holiday lights to see how they are rated. Only use outdoor lights for outdoor decorating. Choose cooler LED lights to help prevent overheating and fire. Before installing lights or using extension cords, check the wiring to make sure it is not frayed or damaged. When leaving the house or going to bed, turn off all lights and other electric holiday decorations.

Careful Use of Candles Will Help Prevent House Fires

Candles may be included as part of your holiday decor or you might have candles on hand in case of a power outage. Teach young children that candles are not toys. Burn them only on fire-resistant surfaces and never leave a live flame unattended. Keep lit candles away from curtains, table linens, and other flammable materials.

Keep a Fire Extinguisher on Hand

Make sure you have a fire extinguisher on each level of your home. In the winter, keep an extinguisher in the kitchen and near the fireplace. Check the pressure gauge at least monthly to verify the device is ready for use. Learn the proper way to operate an extinguisher: pull the pin, aim it at the base of the fire, squeeze the handle, and sweep the extinguisher from side to side.

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