According to the USFA (United States Fire Administration), a large portion of residential fires occurs during the winter months. So, with winter weather now among us, it is important to be cautious about things that can start home fires and how we can prevent them.
Cooking triggers the most winter home fires annually, partly because during winter months, we tend to cook and bake more frequently. Here are some suggestions to prevent home fires while cooking up a storm this winter.
- Make sure your sleeves do not come in contact with flames or heat source. Wear short sleeves or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking.
- Keep pot handles turned inward to prevent spills.
- Keep combustible items like pot holders, towels, and paper or plastic bags away from burners.
- Don’t put metal in a microwave. Utensils, aluminum foil or twist-tie wraps can cause a fire.
- Use caution with microwaved food and liquid. They can become very hot.
- Unplug appliances like toasters and coffee makers when not in use.
- Don’t use the oven for storage.
- Make sure that smoke detectors are working.
- Make sure you have a kitchen fire extinguisher that’s rated for all types of fires. (Check out MIJA’s fire extinguisher guide to make sure you are prepared)
Heating equipment such as space heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces are the cause of one in seven winter home fires annually. Here are some suggestions to stay safe this winter while using an alternate heating source!
- Only plug one heat-producing electrical appliance in at a time in an electrical socket (such as a space heater).
- Make sure your space heater has safety settings and it will automatically turn off if it tips over.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators or space heaters.
- Close wood stove doors unless loading the fire or adding wood or pellets.
- Get a qualified professional to inspect and clean your chimney and vents before you start using it.
- Install metal or heat-tempered screen around your fireplace.
- Store cooled ashes at least 10 feet from your home in a tightly sealed metal container.
- Make sure to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed and test it at least once per month.
- Store portable generators away from windows and as far away as possible from your house.
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