Fire Safety Tips

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Fall is Coming

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Its' hard to believe but if you have been outside lately you know it won't be long before the temperature changes. Being prepared for the cold weather that we know is coming is important.  

When the weather turns cold we start furnaces that haven't been used over the warmer months or turn to alternative means of making our homes comfortable during the winter.  There are several things we can do to make our homes safer for our families during the winter months while heating our homes:

  • Have your homes heating system inspected annually, preferably in the fall, by qualified specialist
  • Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialist, do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified
  • Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition
  • Check the flue pipe and pipe seams.  Blocked flue pipes or bad seams can result in carbon monoxide in the home
  • Is the chimney solid, are there cracks or loose bricks?  All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry
  • Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system

When using alternative or supplementary sources to heat your home take precautions:

  • Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device.  Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes
  • If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit.  Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry an amp load.  Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord
  • Avoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water
  • Keep trash and other combustibles away from electric space heaters

If you have a fireplace:

  • Have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time
  • Do not use flammable liquids 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
  • Don't use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces.  It is possible that you may ignite the creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire
  • Keep flammable materials away from the fireplace and fireplace mantel
  • Before you go to sleep, be sure the fireplace fire is out
  • Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace
  • If you use the synthetic logs follow the instructions on the package.  Never break the synthetic log apart to quicken the fire

Finally

  • BE SURE YOUR HOME HAS WORKING SMOKE DETECTORS TO ALERT YOU EARLY TO A POSSIBLE FIRE IN THE HOUSE
  • BE SURE YOUR HOME HAS A WORKING CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR TO ALERT YOU EARLY TO THE POSSIBLE BUILD UP OF CARBON MONOXIDE IN THE HOME

If you have questions regarding fire safety in the home or concerns please call the Richland Hills Fire Department at 817-616-3754.