Where There’s Cold, There’s Fire: Winter Fire Prevention Tips

Posted on January 8, 2013

Winter weather can wreak havoc on safety.  Over time, many residences will sustain wear and tear that makes them susceptible to the unique hazards posed during this time of the year.  Many such hazards come in the form of fire damage that becomes possible should something go awry.  To make sure that people are safe, Fire Commissioners of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania have offered tips that would be useful even to Californians on the other side of the country.

Some of the tips pertain to water pipes, which can freeze should the weather become particularly frigid.  You can protect yourself early on by making sure your pipes have the requisite support.  Pipes should be free of cracks, rust, or even holes that could leak water which may then freeze.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where the pipes do freeze, know the steps that should be taken to encourage thawing.  A hair dryer that has been certified by the Underwriters Laboratory is sufficient for thawing purposes, as is simply pouring on cups of hot water.  One thing you should not do is try to melt the ice with a blowtorch or some other type of open flame.  These devices were not created for that purpose and thus should not be used for such.

You also need to take precautions with the numerous sources of heat that are used to keep a residence suitably warm.  Each poses their own unique hazards.  Take kerosene heaters for instance.  Because they have to be filled with fuel, one must be careful with open flames.  The fuel should be kept in approved canisters outside your abode, and similarly, the heater should only be filled outside.  Follow the directives provided by the manufacturer, and if you bring the heater inside, ensure that the room offers proper ventilation and is far from anything that could catch fire.  Also understand what needs to be done to shut off the unit manually.

Wood stoves offer their own safety threats.  Such units should be at least three feet away from anything that is in danger of catching fire.  It should also be placed on a surface that provides adequate support and is in no danger of buckling beneath the stove’s weight.  And though it might be tempting, don’t place charcoal within the unit.

Finally, use common sense to protect your home from a fire breaking out.  Flammable items need to be kept sufficiently far from anything that’s used to heat a home, including candles, fireplaces, and more.  Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be in working order, and you should know how to get out of the home in an expedient manner should a blaze erupt.

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