Winter weather brings cold temperatures. In trying to add some extra warmth to homes or businesses, citizens should be aware not to create fire hazards. The Roswell Fire Marshal’s Office reminds citizens of increased potential dangers that can result in home fires during this winter season and offers some tips to prevent accidental fires and protect your family if a fire should start.
During winter, most people turn up the heat in their homes. A malfunction in the heating system can spark a fire, so it is important to ensure smoke alarms are in place to provide adequate warning. A small fire in a single room can take as little as two to seven minutes to create an environment that cannot be survived! Early warning, especially when people are asleep, is crucial.
Every room should have a working smoke detector, except in the direct kitchen area and bathrooms as cooking and steam can cause detectors to issue false alarms. At a minimum, smoke detectors should be located inside all sleeping areas/rooms and hallways connecting sleeping areas. Make sure to test smoke detectors monthly, including smoke detectors that are “hard wired” within the home’s electrical system, and replace batteries at least once a year (twice a year is better).
Another simple point to remember is to close bedroom doors at night while sleeping. In the event of a fire, closed doors can help slow the spread of fire and deadly smoke, allowing more time for escape.
Some fire prevention tips to remember:
- Constantly attend all cooking activities.
- Use space heaters as directed by the instructions and keep away from combustibles.
- Do not use extension cords or “power strips” to supply power to space heaters.
- Never leave space heaters or other heat-producing appliances unattended.
- Do not use ovens to heat a room or home. Leaving the door of the oven open for heat can be deadly by allowing carbon monoxide to build up in the room or home.
Keep in mind residential homes are not necessarily designed to carry the extra load of space heaters or other larger electrical appliances. Electrical outlets can easily become overloaded this time of year with the extra added demand placed on them.
Lastly, beware of the dangers of using heat lamps, especially to provide warmth for pets. The animals can easily knock them over. Three fires, resulting in significant property damage, occurred in Roswell just in the early part of this winter as a result of the use of a heat lamp in sheds, porches and dog houses.
Citizens are encouraged to call the Roswell Fire Marshal’s Office at 624-6830 with any questions, or to seek further information, about fire prevention in the home during the winter season.