As the temperatures drop, people tend to resort to using space heaters and other methods to heat their homes and businesses, but they need to play it safe and prevent a home fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Michael McLeieer, president and founder of E.S.C.A.P.E. spoke with WLNS TV 6, FOX 17 TV, WBKB TV and WKZO AM 590 and FM 106.9 radio this week and shared some simple but important tips and resources to prevent a home fire and increase your chances of surviving a fire should it occur.
Now that the holidays are wraping up, it’s time to take some steps to keep you and your home fire-safe throughout 2021. Did you know 1 in every 7 home fires and 1 in every 5 home fire deaths involves heating equipment? Half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February.
Get rid of your real tree after Christmas or when it is dry. If the needles drop off, it’s time to properly dispose of your tree. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
Check with your local community to find a tree recycling program.
Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
With temperatures dropping, a roaring fire on a cold night may be great comfort and a real danger. Before bringing in the logs to fill the fireplace, keep this safety checklist in mind:
Have your chimney inspected and cleaned. An inspection by a certified chimney sweep will detect any repairs that are needed before you use the fireplace.
In August, Television personality Rachael Rae had a home fire which started from the fireplace.
When your ready to build a fire, burn seasoned wood only. Dryness of the wood is more important than how hard the wood is.
Burn smaller, hotter fires which produce less smoke than larger fires.
Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.
Make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving your home.
Don’t use your fireplace to burn cardboard boxes, trash or used wrapping paper in your fireplace. Sparks from the burning paper can start chimney fires.
Remember to keep the flue open until the next day to make sure the fire is completely out. Always dispose of the ashes in a metal container with a lid, placed outside and at least 10 feet from your home and any nearby buildings. Ashes can retain heat for several hours and even until the next day.
Close the flue after the fire is out to keep the warmth inside and the cold air outside.
As you stay cozy and warm this winter, stay fire smart! Heating is the second leading cause of home fires!
Plug only 1 heat-producing appliance (like a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.
Turn space heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.
Keep anything that can burn (including kids) at least 3 feet away from any heat source.
Never use your oven or stove to heat your home.
Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan (2-ways out of every room). E.S.C.A.P.E. can connect anyone needing new smoke or carbon monoxide alarms with their local fire department. Call 1-844-978-4400 for more details.
Never block exits (doors and windows) with holiday decorations, luggage from your guests, boxes or other obstacles.
By following these simple tips, we all will contribute to Keeping Michigan S.A.F.E.™
NOTE: As of December 25th, 121 Michiganders have lost their lives in 100 fires throughout Michigan. Every county in Southwest Michigan has experienced a fatal fire in the past 2-years. The majority of deaths occurred in homes without working smoke alarms.
The 2020 fire death data resulted in a 21% increase during the same period in 2019 (Jan 1 – Dec 25).