Fall and Winter Home Safety Tips

Article courtesy of  Kelley Klope, Asheville Fire Department

It may be bitter sweet that Asheville Fire Department is sending out fall season fire safety messages as we prepare to say goodbye to summer! Some residents may be excited about the upcoming cool weather while others are sad.  Either way we cannot deny fall will be here soon.  As we do prepare for the changing of the season, the Asheville Fire Department would like to send out some helpful fire safety reminders.

Home heating
Soon you may need to fire up the furnace so it is important to have your system professionally inspected, cleaned and serviced. Filters need to be changed or cleaned, and you should always make sure combustibles are stored at least 3 feet from the furnace. Have any alternative heating sources checked out as well, such as fire places and wood-burning stoves. Creosote buildup can cause heat buildup and ultimately cause a house fire.

Space heaters
Before plugging in your space heaters for the first time be sure to inspect the cords to be sure there are no frayed wires. Be sure to keep heaters away from combustibles and out of the path of children and pets. Space heaters need space and it is recommended to keep a 3 foot distance around a space heater.

Holiday fire safety
November, December and January account for a larger percentage of residential structure fires than any other months in the year. Please be careful when cooking, keep kids and animals away from the stove/oven. Keep decorations away from open flames and keep exits clear of obstructions.

Smoke alarms
Having working smoke alarms in your home gives you precious time for escaping a home fire alive. Tips regarding smoke alarms:

  • Replace the batteries twice a year.
  • Clean dust from smoke alarms with a vacuum attachment.
  • Replace units that are over 10 years old.
  • Push the test button monthly to ensure proper operation.
  • Have an outside meeting place where your family will meet in case of a fire. Practice home fire drills!

Carbon monoxide alarms
Carbon monoxide, or CO, alarms are an important part of your home safety plan too. They detect unburned gases that may leak from gas burning appliances. They must also be tested monthly and have batteries replaced annually. CO is an odorless deadly gas.

Candles
Many Asheville residents use candles in their holiday decorating to create a festive and warm atmosphere. Unfortunately, candles can lead to home fires when they are left unattended and ignite nearby combustibles. Use sturdy candle holders that are large enough to collect candle wax and are resistant to tipping over. Keep candles up and out of the reach of children.