Cold weather brings increased danger of fire

The Escanaba Department of Public Safety would like to provide the community with some fire safety tips during this unusually cold winter that we’ve been experiencing.

If you are heating with either woodstove or fireplace, please follow the listed guidelines;

1. Be sure the fireplace or stove has been installed properly.

2. Make sure that there is a minimum of 36″ clearance around or in front of the unit.

3. The chimney should be inspected annually and cleaned if necessary.

4. Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening to prevent embers from jumping out.

5. Never burn charcoal indoors, as it can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.

Other safety guidelines;

1. Never use a cooking range or oven as a supplemental heat device.

2.I f you are using an electric heater, make sure you’re not overloading the circuit. Make sure you’re using extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry the amp load associated with the particular heating unit. Lastly, make sure there is a 36-inch clearance around the space heater.

3. Do not use electrical space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water.

4. Never thaw frozen water pipes with a blow torch or any other open flame source.

5. If windows are depended upon for emergency exits, make sure they are operational.

6. Make sure all exterior doorways are clear of snow, including infrequently used back doors that lead to decks or yards. Having multiple options for escape could save your life.

7. If there is a fire hydrant near your home, you could assist your fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so in the event that it’s needed, it can be found and used.

8. Be sure, at a very minimum, every level of your home has a working smoke alarm. Beyond that basic recommendation, every bedroom should have one also.

9. Plan and practice your family’s escape plan, which includes an initial “rally point” outside of the home, to make sure that everyone is accounted for and safe.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, from 2007-2011, the number one cause of home heating fires was space heaters, with fireplace, chimney or chimney connector (all being grouped into one category) being number two. For further information refer to the National Fire Protection Association’s web site for additional safety tips.

Last but not least, check on your family and friends throughout this winter to insure that everyone has the chance to see and feel spring’s arrival.